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The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta Hardcover – March 25, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Surprisingly, it’s relatively rare in professional golf’s major tournaments for the top two or three players of the day to find themselves battling one another down the stretch. When it does happen, it’s always something special—and never more so than at the 1975 Masters, when Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, and Tom Weiskopf traded birdies over the iconic final nine holes at Augusta National. Capps, managing editor at the Golf Channel, not only follows the action—leading up to Nicklaus’ magnificent 40-foot putt on the sixteenth hole that decided the contest—but also reprises the history-making event that dominated headlines during the tournament’s opening two days: the first appearance of a black golfer at the Masters. Lee Elder failed to make the cut, but his presence at Augusta changed the face of modern golf. Jumping back and forth in time, Capps capably follows the careers of Elder, Nicklaus, Miller, and Weiskopf, setting the stage for the thrilling finale. There have been several similar tournament histories written over the last decade or so—beginning with Mark Frost’s The Greatest Game Ever Played (2002), about Francis Ouimet’s unlikely triumph at the 1913 U.S. Open—but Capp’s recounting of perhaps the most memorable Masters ever stands shoulder to shoulder with all of them. --Bill Ott

Review

Mike Francesa, WFAN New York, 4/9/14
"A terrific book ... fascinating"

The Augusta Chronicle, 4/9/14
"This extensively researched book is one for all golf fans"


"The argument can be made that golf has never had a more extraordinary day than Sunday at the 1975 Masters. Two majors champions--Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf--dueled with the game's greatest player in golf's most dramatic setting. Gil Capps has recreated that day and that week in detail that makes the reader feel as if he's been transported back in time to that remarkable April afternoon." -John Feinstein, Washington Post columnist & best-selling author (including A Season On The Brink and A Good Walk Spoiled)


Booklist, 9/1/2014 
"Top 10 Sports Books: 2014"


Gary Van Sickle, Sports Illustrated Golf+, 4/1/15
"You could write a book about this tournament and luckily, someone finally did ... It has a thrilling, one-of-a-kind finish; a behind-the-scenes look at three superstars with tales you've never heard ... You can wade into the nostalgia in The Magnificent Masters because Capps makes you want to live there."


Advance praise for The Magnificent Masters

"When so many of us who've come to be accepted as expert in matters concerning golf need answers and counsel, we call on Gil.... The Magnificent Masters is an absolute reflection of a man who not only has the deepest understanding of the significance of that stunning 1975 tournament, but the perspective to tell the story in a way that makes us all understand, too."—Jimmy Roberts, NBC Sports, host of Golf Channel's In Play with Jimmy Roberts, and author of Breaking the Slump

"In the world of details, Gil Capps is golf's strongest man, and those strengths make The Magnificent Masters as potent for the reader today as they were for the viewer in 1975."—Brandel Chamblee, Golf Channel analyst and former PGA Tour winner and Masters participant

"For many of those not old enough to remember the 1975 Masters, Gil Capps helps us understand why many believe this was the greatest golf tournament of all time. Beautifully researched and presented, The Magnificent Masters reveals why this was a transformative week for the epic springtime tournament we never tire of reading about, and in many ways for the sport of golf. A must-read for any fan of the Masters and golf."—Geoff Shackelford, geoffshackelford.com, GolfWorld contributing writer and Golf Digest contributing editor

"Gil Capps is the best golf researcher in the game. He takes that attention to detail in his reporting to craft a classic on a classic, the '75 Masters."—Tim Rosaforte, senior writer for GolfWorld and Golf Digest and Golf Channel contributor

"Gil Capps is the real brains behind not just the key stats we've shared with our TV audience but more importantly much of the perspective. And now everyone is able to get the full and unparalleled 'Capps treatment' on one of the greatest golf tournaments ever played. Gil's signature attention to detail springs the '75 Masters back to life like never before...or just like you're sitting next to him in the TV tower watching it all unfold."—Dan Hicks, NBC Sports golf anchor

Booklist Starred Review, 4/1/14
“There have been several similar tournament histories written over the last decade or so—beginning with Mark Frost’s The Greatest Game Ever Played (2002), about Francis Ouimet’s unlikely triumph at the 1913 U.S. Open—but Capp’s recounting of perhaps the most memorable Masters ever stands shoulder to shoulder with all of them.”

Examiner.com, 3/19/14
“[Capps] fills that gap in the Masters canon…The book picks up where contemporary accounts of the 1975 Masters leave off, filling out the full story of a significant week in the now-eighty-year-long saga of the Masters that had not previously been fully chronicled. In taking on this task, and bringing it to completion in such a satisfactory manner, Gil Capps has made a notable contribution to the chronicles of golf history, and his book should be part of every serious—and even not-so-serious—golf fan’s library.”

Golf Digest, May 2014
“Stir[s] up the nostalgic charm of one of the greatest Masters ever.”


GolfDigest.com, 4/7/2014
“Plenty will be written a year from now about the 1975 Masters when the 40th anniversary arguably the most dramatic edition of the tournament rolls around. Any story, though, will struggle to improve on Gil Capps' work in his recently released book on the subject. The Magnificent Masters) vividly recreates the events of that week at Augusta National Golf Club… Amplifying the rich play-by-play of the three practice round and four days of competition is the interesting character study he offers about the three protagonists, putting into context the importance of the tournament at the time and the impact the outcome would have on each of their careers.”

New York Journal of Books, 4/17/14
“[Capps] takes us into his delightful way back machine to the year 1975, when sports, and pretty much everything else in life, seemed radically simpler…There’s really no question—Capps truly knows golf.”

Tampa Tribune, 4/12/14
“Capps captures [the] suspense perfectly in his book…What is compelling about Capps’ writing is his ability to break down complicated golfing mechanics in a way that doesn’t insult savvy golf fans and et educates neophytes…It gives the reader a better appreciation of how golfers approach their craft…Capps has written an absorbing, informative book on a turning point in the Masters. Before 1975, it was a major, but just another tournament. After 1975’s epic duel, the Masters grew into what it is today—an iconic tournament that thrives on tradition, steely nerves and wondrous golf shots. Capps brings all that to life in The Magnificent Masters.”

New England Sports and Leisure, 9/1/14
“An unforgettable Masters recreated in all its glory.”
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1St Edition edition (March 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306820412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306820410
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Emmy-award winner Gil Capps is an associate producer on NBC Sports golf telecasts and also managing editor at Golf Channel in Orlando, Florida. His first book -- THE MAGNIFICENT MASTERS: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta -- was published by Da Capo Press in spring 2014.

A golf media veteran for more than two decades, Capps has worked on-site at nearly 500 tournaments worldwide. The 2015 season marks his 18th year full-time on NBC's golf team. In all, he has worked 20 U.S. Opens, 18 Players Championships, and 11 Ryder Cups for the network. Capps has been nominated for eight Sports Emmy Awards in his career and was a winner in 2008 for Outstanding Live Sports Special (the 108th U.S. Open).

His primary job during NBC shows is providing statistics, research notes, scoring, spotting, and editorial direction in the main announcer tower. He has worked closely in this manner with noted announcers such as Johnny Miller, Dan Hicks, and Dick Enberg. His other responsibilities include preparing full-page graphics; contributing original ideas for features, teases, and video pieces; and guiding and supporting all editorial and production elements.

In the summer of 2012, Capps took over the newly created role of managing editor at Golf Channel, a part of the new NBC Sports Group. At Golf Channel, Capps has been responsible for helping to create the network's Editorial Research Unit. Modeled after NBC's famed Olympic Research Unit, the group provides research material, initiates story ideas, and fosters content development across all of the company's platforms. As director of the unit, he travels as part of network's signature Live From broadcasts to oversee research at the game's major events.

In the past, Capps served as statistician for USA Sports' PGA Tour coverage from 2003-2006. He has also worked golf events for CNBC, Golf Channel, and CBS (including the Masters from 2003-2012 and nine PGA Championships), sitting alongside more than 60 different golf announcers.

Capps has spent his entire professional career in the golf media business. After graduating from Davidson College, he served a summer internship with the Carolinas Golf Association. In 1992, he founded Metrolina Golf Magazine - a regional golf publication for the Charlotte metropolitan area. He served as publisher and editor for six years until selling the magazine in 1998. He has also written freelance articles for a number of different publications and has been a guest on sport talk radio shows and a speaker at local civic groups.

For more information, visit gilcapps.com


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Big D VINE VOICE on March 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover
It may not have been the best Masters, but it was close, so very close and this very fine book brings it all to life again, Nicklaus, Weiskopf, and Miller (and a very young Tom Watson was in it for a long time).

The drama, the emotion, the competition and a turning point in three of golf's greatest careers. Hard earned and gloriously earned as it was, it was Jack's last Masters title in his prime...who could ever forget that golden mane on that confident, stalking lion-like bear of a golfer on 16 that grand and glorious day. Perfect for golf and the Masters in every way...

For Weiskopf, it was his last and perhaps greatest disappointment in his Masters career...always a bride's maid, never a bride. And for Johnny Miller it was another major disappointment in an all too short career. Then there was Watson, giving a glimpse of the career that was to come...if he only he had not hit it in the water at 16.

The Greatest Masters? It is impossible to say that any one tournament is the "greatest" in an event with the tradition that the Masters has but this one would have to be close, so very close...

And the black and white pictures...while it seems like only yesterday in our minds and hearts, these black and white photos prove how very long ago it really was...

Yes, I was there, and after 40 years, it remains one of the most memorable highlights of a truly blessed career of watching and following athletics. One of the very best memories. I was blessed to be there, and now we are blessed to have this very fine book that brings it all back again
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By timothy gose on April 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I simply couldn't put it down. I'm from Columbus and have followed The Golden Bear's career and have often wondered why Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller's careers never reached the mountop. Well, this book clearly provides the answers especially from very interesting recent insights from the players themselves and many others. Weiskopf and Miler are very candid with their thoughts then and now! Great stuff and a very quick reading prose. Read it this week in preparation for "A tradition unlike any other: The Masters". You'll be fired up and ready to go this Thursday!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By peirre portage on April 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
A great read for any golfer, sports fans and anyone who likes a great story. Very informative, lots of facts that I never knew. It's easy to start reading and not want to put down. I recommended to many friends and those who have finished it where very pleased,,, if you are a golfer it is a must read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Shackelford on July 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The author has the unique ability to provide statistics to give context to the story. I have read a considerable number of books by some of golf's best writers, Jenkins, Darwin, Wind, Price, etc., however Capps did something few can do and that is make his case about the tournament and the players with facts. All that and at the same time build an interesting and captivating story. Learning more about the fathers of key 3 players helped me better understand their rise in the game. Lastly, reliving one irons and 4 woods "to 15 feet from the hole" was a reminder that, while today's stars achieve amazing feats, the best of any era could compete with the best in today's era. I thought it would be just another book about golf and the Masters, but was surprised that it was so much more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Quixote010 VINE VOICE on May 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Arguably the 1970s were the "good old days" of golf. The sport's enthusiasts refer to that time because of the quality of players who brought golf into our living room at that time and captured the imagination of walking majestic fairways. Author Gill Capps reminds us of of that as he relates the image of young Nick Faldo who was more interested in the beauty of Augusta than in the game taking place there.

Although the 1975 Masters is the singular point of this book, the real focus is on the three top golfers of the year (Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf), and their personalities and preparation in the event. Alone the way, Capps reminds us that the 1975 event also was the first time a black golfer (Lee Elder) qualified to play although Capps doesn't really present anything that hasn't been discussed previously.

Nicklaus, Weiskopf and Miller we're considered at top top of there game in 75 although Nicklaus was clearly the more intimidating of the three. Weiskopf likely never reached his potential in his career (likely because of his drinking issues and his infatuation with Nicklaus's game) and Miller...although recognized as having been singularly focused by his father to play, could never conquer greens east of the Mississippi.

This is not a shot-by-shot story of the 75 Masters as much as it is a study of those three golfers and the way the approached the game. Enjoyable for the golf fan and particularly those remembering the 70s.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike Holcombe on May 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having spent several decades as part of the Tournament, this book wonderfully describes its aura, history, wonder, and excitement. Golf fans will have to read it, as it is chock full of previously unknown nuggets of candid admissions from the sport's greatest competitors. I highly recommend it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BobG on April 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not a page burner but well done. Certainly not as compelling as 'The Match' but still worth reading. History never ages.
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