For a century and a half, the best golf players in the world have, once a year, attempted to beat the weather, the pressure, and one of the toughest courses in the world at the British Open. In Royal and Ancient, Curt Sampson, the bestselling author of Hogan and The Masters, draws a definitive and affectionate portrait of this legendary tournament, with a fascinating narrative of both its rich history and its exciting present.
The thread of Royal and Ancient is the 1999 cham-pionship--the most astonishing four days in British Open history. Sampson follows individual players as they meet the gut-wrenching challenge of the links at Carnoustie: the icy classicist, Steve Elkington; the good-looking bon vivant, Andrew Magee; the struggling hopeful, Clark Dennis; Zane Scotland, the youngest Open qualifier in history. Sampson is there for Jean Van de Velde's dramatic collapse on the final day, probing both Van de Velde and his caddie for their emotional insights. He gets inside the heads of stars and journeymen, caddies and groundskeepers, and shows how they prepare and how they think as the tournament pro-gresses, from the qualifying rounds to the practice sessions, all the way through the play-off on the final day.
Beyond his excellent reportage, Curt Sampson captures British Open history as it's never been captured before. With an insider's knowledge and expertise, he draws us into the rare-fied atmosphere of tradition and myth, telling the amazing--and sometimes heartbreaking--stories of past champions, of triumphs and tragedies, of deaths and ghosts. We hear the unexpectedly poignant story of one of the early greats, Tommy Morris, the invincible champion of the 1860s and 1870s, and explore the loyal Scottish fascination with the legendary Ben Hogan. The reminiscences of past and current participants combine with the behind-the-scenes stories of everyone from the club superintendent to the local pub owners to give an intimate look at this unique tournament.
In his book The Majors, John Feinstein called Curt Sampson's The Masters the best book ever written about that Augusta event. Now, in Royal and Ancient, Sampson cracks the inner circle of another remarkable major to provide this fascinating and truly all-embracing view of the British Open.
From the Hardcover edition.