In 1956, a casual bet between two millionaires eventually pitted two of the greatest golfers of the era -- Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan -- against top amateurs Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi.
The year: 1956. Decades have passed since Eddie Lowery came to fame as the ten-year-old caddie to U.S. Open Champion Francis Ouimet. Now a wealthy car dealer and avid supporter of amateur golf, Lowery has just made a bet with fellow millionaire George Coleman. Lowery claims that two of his employees, amateur golfers Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi, cannot be beaten in a best-ball match, and challenges Coleman to bring any two golfers of his choice to the course at 10 a.m. the next day to settle the issue. Coleman accepts the challenge and shows up with his own power team: Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, the game's greatest living professionals, with fourteen major championships between them.
In Mark Frost's peerless hands, complete with the recollections of all the participants, the story of this immortal foursome and the game they played that day-legendarily known in golf circles as the greatest private match ever played-comes to life with powerful, emotional impact and edge-of-your-seat suspense.
In 1956, millionaires Eddie Lowery and George Coleman made an off-the-cuff bet on a golf match and inadvertently set up one of the sport's most climactic duels; "this one casual game has become the sport's great suburban legend." Frost (The Greatest Game Ever Played) diligently covers the two pros slightly past their prime, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, who squared off against two top amateurs, Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi. It happened "in the last hours of Hogan's playing career, and ten years after Byron had left the stage," but at the near pinnacle of the amateurs', whose personalities couldn't have been more diametrically opposed (Venturi the classic up-and-comer, and Ward the inveterate playboy who performed hungover on two hours' sleep). The match itself, scrupulously teased out by Frost for maximum drama, is less interesting than the people involved and the historical backdrop. The match happened near the sport's great cusp, as it transitioned from something for amateurs to a professional career, from a pastime for wastrel aristocrats and entertainers (and Bing Crosby, with his annual booze-soaked Clambake charity matches) to a mainstream suburban obsession. Frost has a penchant toward the florid, but as he writes, "Because he was Ben Hogan, and it was just past twilight, and his like would never pass this way again," he captures an elusive magic in this improbable matchup and what it meant for those who played and witnessed it.
Customer ReviewsSee All
If you think you love golf then you must read this book. You will connect with its history and the Zen of those legends who came before us and left us this amazing fellowship we call "golf".
If you are a golfer this is a MUST read!!! My hands were sweating and it provided great insight into the participants. Amazing round of golf. Cypress Point is on my bucket list.