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Arnie and Jack: Palmer, Nicklaus, and Golf's Greatest Rivalry Paperback – April 8, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this lengthy and occasionally slow-going read, sports columnist O'Connor documents the decades-long rivalry between Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. The two men couldn't have been more different, both on the field and off. Palmer, several years Nicklaus's senior, was an effortlessly charming man, a self-made champion from humble Pennsylvania roots who bashed line drives with astounding force. Nicklaus, meanwhile, was more introverted and endured endless taunting from those who saw him as a cheerless striver caring only about winning. The two men rode their rivalry as golf grew from a sleepy amateur-only sport through its postwar boom into one of America's leading pastimes. Along the way, the men (whose wives became fast friends, and who themselves got along reasonably well) also accrued massive fortunes through an endless string of endorsements, business deals and golf-course building. As rivalries go, Nicklaus and Palmer's is more interesting than some, and O'Connor's account will likely appeal to hardcore golf fans. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Thrillingly dramatic depictions… Comprehensive interviews humanize the two legends while contextualizing their roles in the game's history… Exemplary.
Kirkus Reviews

"Finely written, intricately researched and smartly reported." -- YahooSports.com

"Superb...Arresting." New York Post

"You can't go wrong writing or reading about those two guys, and O'Connor certainly got it right." Newsday

"Fascinating . . . A nice mix of golf history and interpersonal dynamics." Booklist, ALA

"A considerable amount of original research... Recommended." Library Journal

"Refreshing and captivating." Tampa Tribune

"O’Connor’s chronicle...gives readers a picture-perfect view of how they made the sport what it is today." — John Feinstein

“…THE definitive book on [Arnie and Jack’s] often complicated but honorable relationship.” — Gene Wojciechowski

“O’Connor explains the most complicated of human relationships in the simplest of terms…the fascinating journey…should not be missed.” — Bill Plaschke

“A classic work…the most riveting personal moments...[it] is the best thing I’ve read in a long while.” — Edwin Pope

“O’Connor, reporting in rich detail … while lifting golf to the big leagues of American sports.” — Dave Kindred

". . . an exceptional read." USA Today

"O’Connor's book is great because it reminds you how much fun and how ferocious golf used to be." Kansas City Star
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (April 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547237863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547237862
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #897,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I grew up a member of Jack's Pack, having been born a little too late to be a soldier in Arnie's Army. It's funny how sports moments can stay with you. As I watched the Masters this year, in my mind's eye, I could see the Golden Bear prowling those greens. Ghosts of Augusta.

This book tells the tale of two of Golf's titans, both their individual stories, and the story of their complicated relationship, from the first time they met, to the present day. Arnold Palmer, muscular arms bulging out of his short-sleeved shirts, cigarette hanging from his lips, going for every pin, with that wild looking swing of his. Jack Nicklaus: once Fat Jack, before he transformed himself. Picture perfect on the course, but not with the galleries, never getting the love that they showered on Palmer, the King. To say it was love/hate would be an understatement. They competed to the death in everything, but cared about each other much more than they would let on. Ironically, each wanted to be the other. Arnie wanted all those Majors, and the title of Greatest Golfer ever. Jack wanted the popularity and love that Arnie always had. But as Arnie said, "You can only be so many things in life."

The book is wonderfully written. You almost feel like you were there, as the author describes so many memorable Arnie/Jack duels. There is also a fascinating look at their wives. Winnie Palmer & Barbara Nicklaus were fast friends from the moment they met, even as their husbands were trying to beat each other's brains out. When I finished this book, I remember thinking, "I really enjoyed that." I think you will,too.
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Format: Hardcover
Mr. O'Connor has done a fine job with his work on the Palmer-Nicklaus rivalry. No matter which side of the fence you may be on (Arnie's Army or Jack's Pack), there are enduring lessons to be learned here as well as a lot of inside information about two of the all time greats of the game so many of us love. If you have any memories of either of these guys in, or even close to, their primes, you can purchase this book with confidence knowing you have a wonderful read ahead of you.
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Format: Hardcover
Fifty years ago, the greatest rivalry in golf began. By forty years ago, it was all over, with the domination of Jack Nicklaus over Arnold Palmer. So for those who didn't live through it (and for those who did), Mr. O'Connor chronicles the the rise of Big Golf with these two men. Mr. Palmer with his come from behind wins and self-taught style came of age with the TV set and was golf's first superstar. Mr. Nicklaus was not the risk-taker on the golf course that Mr. Palmer was --which is why Arnie had his "Army" and Jack had all the major championships. Their rivalry continued in the business arena after their golfing days. Mr. O'Connor interviewed everyone who knew them and used every cliche to describe them. Other than that, the book is fun to read and a joy to every golfer.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not the best.

The book has some really interesting things I learned about these two giants in sports, and I love these guys is why I bought the book. My issues is that Jack and Arnold built their careers on class and character. That being said, I wish the author took a lesson from that example and used better language instead of so many curse words and street language like "snot" and many more Amazon won't let me write even in a review. It really detracts from the book to me, but I love the subject so much I try to block it out.

Maybe he wanted to show the connection to the street with Arnold but I think Arnold would be embarrassed about the attempt myself and it's totally unnecessary and should be used with football and basketball players perhaps but not these two.

Arnold and Jack were not only the worlds best golfers, but also first class wonderful human beings and serve as examples to us in many ways. Un-like the thugs and criminals and those that lack all character in sports today, like "Eldrick Tont Woods", these two show it's possible to capture the imagination and respect of the world and still be honest and kind and give back to the game.
They are hero's of mine, and I love reading about how they lived their lives. An okay book...not a great one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting into the personalities of two of the greatest golfers ever not counting Tiger Woods. Adversaries who grew to tolerate, and perhaps like, each other over the years of competition. You don't have to even be a golfer to enjoy this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book gives the full history, along with some insider information, about the greatest golf rivalry ever. It paints a close up of both men and their relationship. I thought it might be a sappy, over-flattering piece, but it is not. If you are into these guys, and a little bit of golfing history, this is for you. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I am almost sad that I read it on my Kindle and cannot share it with others; but they can buy their own...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Always an Arnie fan, reluctantly a Jack fan, Ian O'Connor has allowed me to go back to a wonderful time in my life. I cut school to watch these two men duel at Baltusrol. I remember seven kids jumping into the pond of the fourth green to recover a misplayed Palmer shot during the 67 US Open. Palmer's charisma has never been replicated, while Jack eventually earned the respect he deserved. Arnie and Jack reveals captivating insights into these two golfing warriors' lives and accomplishments. I had to send copies to my all my golfing buddies, even before Christmas
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