A rewatching confirms my previous assessment: it’s a beautifully filmed period piece, but is probably a bit slow for non golf fans. For me, the best scenes are the ones that show the incredible strain that competitive golf put on Jones. One of Jones’ most famous quotes is that (and I’m paraphrasing here) competitive golf is played on a five inch course—the space between the ears. My assumption always has been that he was talking about the necessity of playing thinking man’s golf. But watching the film made me think that perhaps he was talking about dealing with his stress.
I also thought it was a nice bit at the end, when Jones is on a drive with OB Keeler. All your life, Keeler says, you’ve been doing things for other people: you played golf for your dad, got degrees for your mother and gave up golf for your wife. What, he asks, are you going to do for yourself? At that point, Jones pulls the car off the road to a pasture and tells Keeler that he’s going to build a golf course—and that this is the first tee. It’s my homage to St. Andrews, he says. Then, as he tees up and swings, the pasture then morphs into a panorama of Augusta National.
Great stuff. And worth a rewatching.