Returning as an honored guest to the exclusive country club where he worked in his youth, Jack Handley remembers the summer of '46 when he caddied for Ben Hogan in the last Chicago Open. Now a respected historian, Jack recounts to the assembled sons and daughters of members he once knew the dramatic match between the mysterious and charismatic Hogan and the young club pro he idealized.
The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan is filled with dazzling descriptions of hole-by-hole match play drama, and laced with anecdotes from that golden age of sports. This bittersweet novel of friendship, lost love, and great golf is told through the eyes of a 14-year-old boy whose life is forever changed by one of the greatest players of the game.
Known more for his novels of the macabre, Coyne moves onto the links and comes up with a terrific blend of golfing lore, PGA tournament drama and country club soap opera. It's 1946, and Jack Handley is a 14-year-old caddy at a posh country club near Chicago. He loves the game, and his mother needs the money. When Ben Hogan shows up one day to play a practice round before the Open, Jack caddies for Hogan and for Jack's pal, assistant pro Matt Richardson, as the two men play a not-very-friendly round. Coyne's descriptions of the strained practice round and the gripping first day of the Chicago Open are masterful sports fiction, with Jack reliving every drive, chip and putt, adding savvy golf tips and caddy tricks. Add in Jack's entanglement in Matt's secret romance with the daughter of the club's rich and powerful president, and anecdotes of other legendary players (like Jimmy Demaret, Gene Sarazen and Lefty Stackhouse), and the results rank with James Dodson's nonfiction, and John Corrigan's PGA golf mysteries.