The Wicked Game: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and the Story of Modern Golf

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9780060513863: The Wicked Game: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and the Story of Modern Golf

Golf is sometimes referred to as "the wicked game" because it is fiendishly difficult to play well. Yet in the parlance of the Tiger Woods generation, it's also a wickedly good game -- rich, glamorous, and more popular than ever.

When we think about golf -- as it is played at its highest level -- we think of three names: Tiger Woods, the most famous sports figure in the world today, Arnold Palmer, the father of modern golf, and Jack Nicklaus, the game's greatest champion.In this penetrating, forty-year history of men's professional golf, acclaimed author Howard Sounes tells the story of the modern game through the lives of its greatest icons. With unprecedented access to players and their closest associates, Sounes reveals the personal lives, rivalries, wealth, and business dealings of these remarkable men, as well as the murky history of a game that has been marred by racism and sex discrimination. Among the many revelations, the complete and true story of Tiger Woods and his family background is untangled, uncovering surprising new details that inspire the golfer's father to exclaim, "Hell, you taught me some things about my life I never knew about!"Earl Woods and other members of Tiger Woods's family, his friends, girlfriends, caddies, coaches, and business associates were among the 150 people interviewed over two years of research. Others included Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, fellow champions such as Ernie Els, Gary Player, Tony Jacklin, and Tom Watson, and golf moguls such as Mark H. McCormack, billionaire founder of the sports agency IMG.

The Wicked Game is a compelling story of talent, fame, wealth, and power. Entertaining for dedicated golfers, and accessible to those who only follow the game on television, this may be the most original and exciting sports book of the year.

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About the Author:

Howard Sounes was born in 1965. He is the author of five works of nonfiction, published in thirteen languages, addressing diverse subjects. Each book is based on a huge amount of research and exclusive interviews conducted over a number of years, revealing a great deal of new information. Sounes's recent books include a celebrated biography of the American poet Charles Bukowski and Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan. Sounes lives in London.

From Publishers Weekly:

Sounes approaches a journalistic exposé of the modern business of golf from a biographical perspective. Through riveting portraits of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, the author of biographies on Charles Bukowski and Bob Dylan turns the spotlight on the game's evolution, from country club pastime to a multibillion-dollar business, with multimillionaire players holing out and cashing in. The "wicked" in this game is in its documented history of discrimination against minorities, women and the less-than-rich who can't afford the country club dues. (The "Caucasian clause" existed in the rules of the PGA of America from 1934 until 1961.) In modern parlance, it also refers to being wickedly difficult to play and wickedly fun. With the advent of charismatic players such as Palmer and Woods, and the rise of sports marketing pioneered by the late Mark McCormack and IMG management, golf became accessible to the average player and attractive to big business by way of endorsements. McCormack realized that "most people who follow golf also play the game." He figured they would pay to own equipment and clothing endorsed by their favorite players, pay to get advice from them and pay to watch demonstrations. With his handsome, folksy charm, Palmer created a new type of golf image and, with McCormack calling the shots, readily cashed in. Nicklaus's prodigious talent and latent appeal upped the odds and the purses. Now Woods has run with the ball further than anyone could have imagined. Sounes, who lives in London, chastises the PGA and the players for not being more politically active or correct; he chastises Woods for being the only player not to give him a personal interview. A slightly sensational style can be forgiven in light of the thoroughness of the research. For those tired of the numerous golf books written by players and coaches, or of those written by sports magazine journalists (many of whom depend on their good relationships with the players to get a story), this no-holds-barred history will be a breath of wickedly fresh air.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Sounes, Howard
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