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The Masters: Golf, Money, and Power in Augusta, Georgia Hardcover – March 24, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; 1st edition (March 24, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679457534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679457534
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,067,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Curt Sampson follows his exceptional biography of Ben Hogan with another sweeping exploration of one of golf's icier hearts: Augusta National and the powers behind the Masters. A combination of history, sociology, and good old sports writing, The Masters counterpoints a rich, white institution with the town surrounding it that is anything but. Ultimately, the book tells the story of a singular sporting experience--and the marvelous drama it has provided--that manages to succeed spectacularly despite the arrogance, dourness, and manipulations of the homogenous bastion that deigns to let the rest of the world intrude upon its exclusiveness for one week every April.

From Library Journal

Arguably the most prestigious event on the Professional Golfers Tour, the Masters imposes 13 specific qualifications a player must meet to be on the invitation list. Even then there is no guarantee that a golfer will be selected to participate. No wonder this competition is a who's who of the world's best golfers. Sampson, author of several books on golf (e.g., Hogan, Rutledge, 1996), has compiled an interesting study complete with bibliography and index. This portrait of the Masters, appropriately subtitled "gold, money, and power in Augusta," traces the tournament's history since 1933, revealing both the dramatic moments and the controversial secrets, most notably racismAcertainly a book to raise eyebrows at the Augusta National Golf Club. The members' code of silence and a tight control of the media have kept a lid on the club's less-than-flattering side. Golfing enthusiasts will enjoy the publication. Purchase where demand warrants.ALarry Robert Little, Penticton P.L., BC
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Curt Sampson, golf professional turned golf writer, came to golf the old-fashioned way--as a caddie. He looped for his father for a few years on summer Saturday's, then turned pro, in a manner of speaking, at age 12, as one of the scores of disheveled boys and men in the caddie pen at Lake Forest Country Club in Hudson, Ohio. His golf game developed from sneaking on LFCC at twilight, an occasionally nerve-wracking exercise because the greens keeper intimated a readiness to call the cops on trespassers. Sampson--never caught--progressed as a player and as an employee, scoring a job as starter/cart maintenance boy at age 16 at Boston Hills CC, a public course, also in Hudson. His high water mark as a young golfer was a win in the Mid- American Junior in 1970. Sampson attended Kent State University on a golf scholarship and managed a municipal course for two years following graduation, worked a couple more as an assistant pro at clubs in South Carolina and Tennessee, then bummed around as a touring pro in Canada, New Zealand, and Florida.

In November 1988, Sampson began to write full-time, mostly about the game of his father, golf. Texas Golf Legends, his first book, was collaboration with Santa Fe-based artist Paul Milosevich. Researching TGL gained Sampson introductions with people he has written about many times since: Hogan, Nelson, Crenshaw, Trevino, and a few dozen others. His next book-The Eternal Summer, a recreation of golf's summer of 1960, when Hogan, Palmer, and Nicklaus battled-is still selling 15 years after its debut, a rarity in the publishing world. Sampson's biography of the enigmatic William Ben Hogan struck a chord. Both Hogan and his next book, The Masters, appeared on the New York Times bestseller lists. Subsequent books and scores of magazine articles cemented Sampson's reputation as readable and sometimes controversial writer with an eye for humor and the telling detail.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 6, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Having played at Augusta National and attending the tournament for over 25 years, everything Curt Sampson has to say is true. Until now, nobody had the courage to publish the truth, for fear of losing their "privileges". His book is not a revelation of new facts, but is more a history lesson of the elitist group of men who founded the club and the tournament and their relationship with the city of Augusta. The members are still pompous! We forget that what we see now on TV is far from how this event started. Very factual. Well written. Easy reading. A good gift for any golfer who dreams about Augusta National.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The author starts well but doesn't finish as he jumps from the course, to the town to the townspeople, but with no real insights into the main subject: the golf course and the tournament itself. His one-sided portrayal of Cliff Roberts doesn't help the reader truly understand why Roberts spent much of his life devoted to Augusta National. The last chapter was out of joint with the rest of the text as he struggles to end what he started. Hard to recommend to others.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 23, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If Sampson's probe is anywhere near the truth, it surely smudges the high place we give to Augusta and The Masters.
Certainly, it still revolves around Jones, and it always has. The legend of this amateur and supposed gentleman is tarnished by his association with Roberts and his seizure of power and control of what has become golfing legend.
Without the champion's name and backing and tournament, The Masters and Augusta would be just another club and tour stop. But from the outset it was Bobby who kept it together. Then the illness and pulling away, and the inroads of Cliff and the rest is history, here well documented by one of the great golf writers. Sampson again weaves his literary magic with different piercing vignettes of the personalities and events which have led to Augusta lore and legend.
Story upon story from various facets permeate this fluid read--from club caddie to townfolk to neglected member and player -- one is given much to contemplate.
The tales are superb, sampling but a few: the caddie deliberately overclubbing Robert's opponent on a Par 3 course contest; Dave Marr's respone to Arnie that even his divot cleared Rae's Creek on 15; the asst. pro's wife being offered big money for the rope marker that only quandred off souvenir sales.
Augusta appears to be the premier "ole boys" club. If you want scoop about it's past and insights possibly into its present, this read will begin that path.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scott on April 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Author Curt Sampson captures the birth and life of one of the most famous sporting events in the world, The Masters golf tournament. Played annually in Augusta, Georgia, this prestigious golf tournament has become the new face of golf. Mr. Sampson shows us how this once unknown place, turned into a sanctuary for some of the greatest golfers of all time. He gets deep into how it was started by a group of New York business men, only 68 years after the Civil War. He shows us how although, one of the most famed golf course in the world has always been dampered by the reputation for being a racist society. He explains how that when Tiger Woods won the Masters in 1997, Augusta and the Masters had come full swing from what it once was. This book goes well into detail about things the common person would have never known or been able to find out. Although, occasionally drags on about the birth of this event. this book has solid content and gives information that you would have never known otherwise. I recommend this book to any golf enthusist.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Curt Sampson has done it again with his new book, " The Masters." It is a very thorough look at the tournament, the men involved and the town which hosts the event.It is a great history of golf and of the struggles of a southern town. The author is not judgmental, he just gives you the facts. I would recommend this book not only to golf/Masters fans but also to those who enjoy southern history or reading about the history of a town.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have been to the tournament and knew a little of the history behind it. Sampsons book was very interesting and will be of interest to anyone following the game. He must have done a lot of research to find some of the people today, years after their Masters experience. I am going to attend the tournament again with a different outlook.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I don't think there's a better golf writer, or for that matter sports writer, in today's book world than Mr. Sampson. He can turn a phrase as well as John Updike, and he's the kind of writer who could write about paint drying and make it fascinating. His profiles of the men involved in making the Masters what it is today--weirdo Cliff Roberts, tragic golf great Bobby Jones, and even Dwight Eisenhower--are great. There's a good balance of behind-the-scenes power broking and great golf throughout the years. But what makes this book even better, what raises it to a higher level, is its examination of the relationship of the town of Augusta to the elitist Augusta National Club. It's fascinating to read about what the townspeople think of the club, and how some of them--like singer James Brown, and boxer Beau Jack--have interacted and been affected by the racist Club. There's a tremendous amount of texture in Sampson's descriptions, enough to justify the comparisons to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Sampson also, by the way, wrote another classic golf book entitled The Eternal Summer: Palmer, Nicklaus, and Hogan in 1960, Golf's Golden Year. It's out of print but one of the most enjoyable golf books I've ever read.
Someone should also reprint Sampson's insightful book on pro basketball, Full Court Pressure (a lousy title for the best book on the NBA since The Breaks of the Game). It came and went a few years ago and deserves to be more widely read.
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