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The Bookshelf

This page features book reviews and mentions by Cliff Schrock on golf, general topics and classic golf books. There will be occasional product reviews and commentary on popular culture as well.

Feinstein's Ryder Cup book adds to memorable golf canon

Author, columnist and commentator John Feinstein gained wide acclaim with his “A Season on the Brink” book in 1986, but since that time he’s been arguably more prolific in the golf genre than any other sport, including about the U.S. Open, Arnold Palmer, tour qualifying school, Tiger Woods, caddie Bruce Edwards (and Tom Watson), the PGA Tour and the majors.

His latest book continues the good golf reads: “The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup.” First out in 2017, publisher Anchor Books released the paperback version on September 4. It comes in at 320 pages with a price of $16.95.

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The 2016 Ryder Cup was the U.S. team’s feel-good story after a cantankerous 2014 in which Phil Mickelson, primarily, groused about Tom Watson’s captaincy in the throes of a U.S. pummeling by Europe. Mickelson indicated that he, and the others, wanted more input on strategy; some felt he was reacting badly to a perceived slight by Watson. Ignoring the comments of many observers, including Ryder star Patrick Reed, that the U.S. just needed to play better to win, the PGA of America assembled a task force and a plan to turn the ship around. The resulting plan didn’t really bring about a change in personnel, but after winning on home soil in 2016 at Hazeltine in Minnesota, the Americans proclaimed “mission accomplished” that they were on the right track.

The strength of a Feinstein book is the story telling and insider-type details, and “The First Major” doesn’t fail in that regard. There is a special poignancy to the book since it includes the emotions the participants felt about playing roughly a week after Arnold Palmer died.

One of the match’s big moments was the Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed battle, which is re-created well. With the Ryder Cup starting in France today, get The First Major and see what makes the Ryder Cup the biggest golf event on the planet.

Cliff Schrock