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The Majors-In Pursuit of Golf's Holy Grail Paperback – Bargain Price, May 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company (May 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316277959
  • ASIN: B000ESSSH0
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,422,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As much a force of nature in sporting pursuits as John Grisham is on lawyers or Steven King is on the weird, the dauntingly prolific John Feinstein once again steps up to take a swing at golf. While A Good Walk Spoiled chronicles the pressures and tensions of a full season on the PGA Tour, The Majors narrows the vista, and expands the importance, to the chase for the four prestigious titles--the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA--that separate the great careers from the pretenders. That the chase occurred in 1998 turns The Majors from a compelling chronicle into a thrilling one.

A thorough reporter, Feinstein does the necessary homework both inside and beyond the ropes. He dusts off history and anecdote to provide perspective and explore how and why these four particular tournaments sprouted such regal fur around their collars. Still, perspective is just background if there's no focus to give it meaning, and he finds a bagful of it in the individual quests and the public and private dramas of, most notably, Fred Couples, Lee Janzen, Tiger Woods, Mark O'Meara, Phil Mickelson, and David Duval. All entered the season with much to prove--to themselves and posterity, and the latter is what the Majors are so imposingly about. As Feinstein observes, "Four days a year, golfers go out to play for Forever. Those are the four Sundays at the major championships. They all know what is at stake." As the record shows, none staked a claim more improbably or excitingly than O'Meara, who put a pair of exclamation points on a long, distinguished--but significantly Major-less--career with stunning, gutsy victories at both the Masters and the British Open. Feinstein records these quests with precision and color; as usual, he aims at a target and shoots better than par. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

With this exemplary book, Feinstein continues to exploit a formula that has worked well for him in chronicling sports subjects from college basketball (A March to Madness) to the PGA Tour (A Good Walk Spoiled): spend a year with a subject and use the experience as a way not only to tell a good story but also to illuminate the greater culture surrounding the sport. Returning to golf, Feinstein tackles the sport's four major championships: the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA, as they were played in 1998. He displays a singular skill in conveying what these preeminent tournaments mean to those who contest them, and in highlighting the sometimes deeply personal struggles of people so often seen only on the grand public stage. Feinstein attributes the majors' rise in stature over the past four decades to the rivalry between Arnold Palmer, golf's first television superstar, and the younger Jack Nicklaus. From their numerous memorable duels grew the obsessive culture of today, in which unquestionably great players are forever tainted if they fail to win one of the big four. Feinstein also covers the tournaments' stewards, rigorous qualifying requisites and hallowed traditions. While stopping short of significant controversy, he looks candidly at such subjects as golf's struggle to shed its white-bread image and the attempt to deny Casey Martin, a handicapped albeit skillful golfer, the right to use a cart on tour while other players are denied that luxury. Comprehensive and immensely enjoyable, Feinstein's latest will provide veteran golfers an appreciation of how the sport is played at its most exalted level, while giving even those whose only putts have come on AstroTurf an understanding of what all the fuss is about.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

John Feinstein spent years on the staff at the Washington Post, as well as writing for Sports Illustrated and the National Sports Daily. He is a commentator on NPRs "Morning Edition," a regular on ESPNs "The Sports Reporters" and a visiting professor of journalism at Duke University.His first book, A Season on the Brink, is the bestselling sports book of all time. His first book for younger readers, Last Shot, was a bestseller.

Customer Reviews

Feinstein is a gifted sportswriter and great author.
Patrick L. Randall
Feinstein's book chronicles the 1998 PGA Tour Season highlighting the Majors which are the Masters, the US Open, the British Open and the PGA.
Leo Lim
That aside, this book is a good read and has the right balance that will appeal to both the hardcore and casual golf fan.
P Magnum

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Joseph W. Strella on January 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is great. It is suspensefull and informative throughout. You are introduced to the various golfers as they play, or attempt to qualify for the majors. The tournaments are covered in more detail than you get on TV and with much more insight into what is going on in the heads of the players. The book would be good for anyone who has ever played or watched golf on TV. It is especially enjoyable if you happened to attend any of the major golf tournaments in 1998.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lewis Martin on April 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"The Majors" gave me as much pleasure as any golf book I have read. The blend of history and present day action is well balanced, and the movement through the year (1998) from tournament to tournament gives the book an ideal structure.
This book is a perfect companion to Feinstein's earlier book "A Good Walk Spoiled". That book was an enthralling description of the PGA Tour and the life of the players.
"The Majors" is even more enthralling because the four tournaments that are its subject are at the heart of the game of golf. Because they represent the pinnacle of the game, they deserve the best writing and the finest understanding, and in this book they get it. Like the players, Feinstein has seen the challenge these tournaments represent, and he has lifted his writing another notch to meet that challenge.
I did find the lengthy descriptions of the private life of some players a bit trying, but that's a problem easily solved. I just moved on to where the book returned to the narrative of the tournaments and was immediately engrossed in the story again.
A fine book and a beautifully presented one too.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If you've read "A Good Walk Spoiled," you have to follow it up with this Feinstein gem. He once again takes you inside the game like no one else can. Feinstein puts a great deal of focus on the men behind the Masters, and gives you a good idea of the pressure at the U.S. Open. You also see that most Americans who put the British Open a step below the first two majors are clearly uninformed about what major championship golf is all about. Finally, you realize that the PGA is the least important of the four majors, searching to find an identity to distinguish itself.
Some of the more interesting storylines are the close detail in which Fred Couples' season was followed, the improvement in Payne Stewart's attitude, the unbelievably rock-hard nerves of U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen, and the love the Brits showed Open qualifier Larry Mize. However, the most intriguing information comes from the in depth discussion of the career of David Duval. Before I read the book, I despised Duval and thought he was nothing but an arrogant jerk. However, after reading the book, I came to respect him for his no excuses attitude.
Overall, I obviously recommend that anyone who follows the PGA tour read this masterpiece.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David E. Levine on June 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I once had the opportunity to tell the famous sports author, Roger Kahn (of "Boys of Summer" fame) that for some reason, baseball and golf seem to bring out excellent writing by top authors. For some reason, these two sports (as opposed to the others) spawn very fine literature. Well, John Feinstein showed how truly literate golf wrting can be in "A Good Walk Spoiled" and he does it again in "The Majors." Rather than merely cover the events, he gets into the psyche of the golfers involved. This book does much more than merely cover the four major tournaments in men's professional golf. It makes you feel as though you are in the locker room with the major actors. It makes you feel that you are walking side by side with them on the course. The 1998 golf season was particularly exciting, as demenstrated by Mark O'Meara's wins in the Masters & British Open, and Lee Janzen's miraculous victory as he overcame Payne Stewart in the final round of the US Open. Feinstein captures all of the excitement, not just from the fans' perspective but from that of the players too. This is a really fine sports book.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I was quite disappointed with this book of Feinstein. But to be completely fair about it, it may not be this book per se, but simply that I have grown tired of Mr. Feinstein's writing style.
I admire Mr. Feinstein's work as being extremely well-researched, and I enjoy his occasional appearances in the ESPN Sports Reporters show. In that Sunday morning show, he is forced to be much more critical and opinionated than he is in this or any other of his books.
I wished he could have used some of the edge from his book on tennis to apply to this book. Even some of the humor of "A Good Walk Spoiled" would have been appreciated.
But this book is simply a reporting of what happened at each of the 1998 Majors. In Feinstein's opinion, everybody with any connection whatsoever with the PGA or any golf tournament is a fantastic person, a veritable saint. Even John Daly comes across as a wonderful person.
That last treatment is extremely disappointing as the author grew up in a family beset by alcoholism, and knows full well what an alcoholic can do to destroy his/her family. Feinstein really blows it on Daly, who as recent events have shown, cares only about the bottle.
The only person who gets criticized is Matt Kuchar's father.
Feinstein knows full well about the business deals, the multiple conflicts of interest, the interesting political views of the people he talks about. He quotes often about the players complaining of the grueling schedules of the golfers, yet he never questions the greed behind many of these commitments.
I was hoping for an even-handed treatment of the subject manner. Not a book that criticizes everybody, but neither one that praises everyone. Unfortunately, by being so uncritical, the book became dull rather quickly and while informative, it wastes Feinstein's superb writing skills.
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