<B>The story behind golf's greatest match</B> Before Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan, there was Harry Vardon, a British duffer whose style and methods revolutionized the game of golf. Born in 1870, he overcame a childhood of extreme poverty to attain his place as one of the legends of the game, winning four British Opens and crushing all opposition, all the while maintaining his reputation as a gentleman.

In <B>The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet and the Birth of Modern Golf</B>, his stirring account of Vardon and the 1913 U.S. Open, author Mark Frost writes of the Englishman, "Wherever he played he left in his wake a planted seed of interest that sprouted overnight . . . thousands of men, boys and women who'd never even considered golf before took up the game." An ocean and a generation apart from Vardon, Francis Ouimet was growing up under similar circumstances. Raised in Massachusetts, he was the son of a frustrated manual laborer who disapproved in no uncertain terms of his child's growing fascination with golf. But living across the street from the local golf course proved too strong a temptation, and Francis sneaked in as often as he could, finding employment as a caddie and developing into an astute player.

Alternating the focus between Vardon and Ouimet, Frost brings the pair slowly and irresistibly together, like two trains headed for an intersection of track. Vardon was a top professional earning fame and fortune on both sides of the Atlantic, while Ouimet was the self-effacing, up-and-coming amateur. When the two battled it out at the 1913 U.S. Open, they changed the game of golf forever.

Frost's enthusiasm is infectious as he writes about each day's drama at the U.S. Open, including the thrilling 18-hole playoff. A best-selling novelist, he brings wonderful drama and detail to this tale of a classic match between two unforgettable players. <I>Ron Kaplan writes from Montclair, New Jersey.</I>

comments powered by Disqus