It's 1999 and although Rich Beem has just been nominated for Rookie of the Year following his first ever victory, he's still just another golfer on the PGA Tour desperately trying to break out from Tiger's shadow. Alan Shipnuck takes us inside Beem's world, exploring the complex relationship with his faithful caddie, Steve Duplantis, from being arrested together for drink-driving at Carnoustie, all the way to glorious and unexpected victory at the 2002 PGA Championship.
In BUD, SWEAT & TEES Alan Shipnuck takes a no-holds-barred look at modern professional golf. Through the unlikely partnership of golfer Rick Beem and his caddie Steve Duplantis, Shipnuck shows all the highs and lows, temptations and pitfalls that await all players on the Tour. Reminiscent of Lawrence Donegan's bestselling FOUR-IRON IN THE SOUL (Penguin), BUD, SWEAT & TEES is an exciting and often poignant book that will leave readers with an unforgettable insight into a unique relationship.
Despite its droll title, Sports Illustrated writer Shipnuck's first book affords an earnest and unsentimental portrayal of life on the PGA tour. It follows two of golf's lesser-known figures through the 1999 season: a rookie named Rich Beem, who won the Kemper Open that year, and his caddie Steve Duplantis. Both men open up to Shipnuck about their personal histories, as do their families, friends, colleagues, lovers and former employers. Tightly weaving the private with the professional, the author chronicles Beem's inconsistent, occasionally brilliant performances on the golf course, alongside his past jobs, romances and periodic problems with alcohol. Duplantis, who often falls short in his responsibilities as a caddy because of his inability to manage a turbulent personal life, gets a similarly nuanced treatment. Indeed, the depth to which Shipnuck delves into their difficulties with money, family and their own partnership gives his narrative an almost painful poignancy. As for the golf itself, the author clearly knows his subject, and his keen-eyed descriptions of Beem and Duplantis at work both entertain and enlighten. He gives an exciting play-by-play of their miraculous victory at the Kemper Open, wherein Beem executed one brilliant shot after another, mainly as a result of Duplantis's ego-boosting exhortations. By tempering such stories of his subjects' heroics with the mundane realities of their lives, Shipnuck portrays them as flawed, likeable people who struggle like the rest of us, with imperfect results.