Yes, this is a sports book. Not just a sports book, but a GOLF book. I don’t play golf. I don’t follow golf. I do know you hit a little ball with a stick and the lowest score wins. But that’s about it.
So, why the heck did I decide to read a golf book?
Well … because I was in the mood for something completely different (you don’t get much more different than golf in my world), and because I think sports writing, when it’s good, is a lot of fun to read.
And you know what? This is some seriously good sports writing.
I was told, however, that because this is a sports book that’s 10 years old, it’s hideously out of date, and I shouldn’t be reading it. I didn’t care. I loved every minute I spent reading this one.
The basic schtick: Rick Reilly — who writes for Sports Illustrated — decided that the best way to get to know golf — to really know golf — is to be a caddy. So, he managed to finagle (con?) some of the best (and worst, and, well, in-between) golf players into letting him caddy (or “loop”, as I learned) a tournament for each of them. It’s basically one story after another of all the people he looped for, from Deepak Chopra and Donald Trump to Jack Nicklaus and David Duval, not to mention Jill McGill on the LPGA tour. Lest you wonder: yes, he did caddy at the Masters, but no, not for one of the top players. Yes, he did ask Tiger Woods (this was back when Tiger was really hot stuff; I mean, I’d heard of him and I don’t know squat about the sport), but he turned Reilly down. And no, Reilly wasn’t any good. He sucked at being a caddy. Though I got the impression that he’s a pretty good golfer.
So, what made this so great? I laughed. Seriously laughed. Reilly made me interested in and got me to care about a sport that I know nothing about and will probably never pick up. Sure, he dropped terms and names like nobody’s business, but it didn’t matter, because he was telling a story, and he knows how to tell a story in a way that will get even the most clueless readers interested in his subject.
No, I probably won’t pick up golf clubs (though he did kind of make me think maybe I could give it a go, just to see what the fuss is all about). But I am going to hunt down more of Reilly’s stuff. He is really that good.
Rated: High for language, language, language. Who knew golfers swore so much?