First Sunday In April: The Masters Book Review

imageFirst Sunday in April: The Masters
Grade: A

The GolfBlogger is a voracious reader, with an oeuvre that covers a wide range of topics: economics, history, science, medicine (yes, Mrs. GolfBlogger thinks this is weird, too), politics, the classics, science fiction, modern thrillers, and of course, sports. In short, I’ll read practically anything I can get my hands on, typically working through fifty or more books in a year. I just finished Julius Caesar’s Commentaries, and soon will start working on a biography of Thomas Moore.

One thing I’ve noticed in my literary travels is just how rich a body of work has grown up around the sport of golf. From Bernard Darwin, to Bobby Jones, P.G. Wodehouse, Herbert Warren Wind, Feinstein, Dodson, Jenkins and others, golf seems to inspire great writing. I think it’s in the very nature of the game—the way it lays bare our humanity. A round of golf can take a man from the depths of despair to the very heights of joy. It brings out the very worst, and the very best.

And perhaps nothing does it like the Masters at Augusta National. Indeed, with its legendary back nine, Augusta was specifically designed for triumph and disaster.

First Sunday in April: The Masters is a collection of stories, articles and reminisces of that legendary golf tournament. With contributions from professional writers, as well as from players, it is divided into sections: The Tradition, The Personalities, The Course, The Background, The Caddies, The Moments and The Controversies. For any one of these, the editors would have been able to put together enough to fill the book. It had to have been a hard task to choose a five to seven piece representative sample.

I enjoyed each of the pieces in the book—and all the more so because none was particularly long. They were perfectly suited for a few minutes read just before going to sleep. The breadth also was nice in that the book avoided being repetitive. The tone of the pieces range form humorous to serious to sentimental. Again, all welcome changes of pace.

The title of the book has been the bone of some contention in some circles: The first Sunday in April is actually the last day of the Houston Open, and the climax of the Masters is the second. But the book’s editors have a point, I think, in that the Masters is more than a Sunday; it’s a whole week of talk and prediction and preparation which just happens to culminate on the second Sunday. And in choosing such a wide variety of topics

That said, perhaps a better title would have been “One Week In April: The Masters”


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