The First Major: The Inside Story Of The 2016 Ryder Cup by John FeinsteinThe First Major: The Inside Story Of The 2016 Ryder Cup by John Feinstein

The First Major: The Inside Story Of The 2016 Ryder Cup

byJohn Feinstein

Paperback | October 24, 2017 | Large Print

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Good Walk Spoiled, a dramatic chronicle of the bitterly-fought 2016 Ryder Cup pitting a U.S. team out for revenge against the Europeans determined to keep the Cup out of American hands.

Coming into 2016, the Americans had lost an astounding six out of the last seven Ryder Cup matches, and tensions were running high for the showdown that took place in October, 2016 in Hazeltine, Minnesota, just days after American legend Arnold Palmer had died. What resulted was one of the most raucous and heated three days in the Cup's long history. Award-winning author John Feinstein takes readers behind the scenes, providing an inside view of the dramatic stories as they unfolded: veteran Phil Mickelson's two-year roller-coaster as he upended the American preparation process and helped assemble a superb team; superstar Rory McIlroy becoming the clear-cut emotional leader of the European team, and his reasons for wanting to beat the US team so badly this time around; the raucous matches between McIlroy and American Patrick Reed - resulting in both incredible golf, and several moments that threatened to come to blows; the return of Tiger Woods not as a player but an assistant captain, and his obsession with helping the US win - which was never the case when he was playing. John Feinstein's classic bestseller, A Good Walk Spoiled, set the bar for golf books. Now Feinstein provides his unique take on the Ryder Cup, which has clearly become golf's most intense and emotional event...it's 'first Major.'
JOHN FEINSTEIN is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the classics sports books A Season on the Brink and A Good Walk Spoiled, along with many other bestsellers including The Legends Club and Where Nobody Knows Your Name. He currently writes for The Washington Post and Golf Digest and is a regular contributor to the Golf Channe...
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Title:The First Major: The Inside Story Of The 2016 Ryder CupFormat:Paperback | Large PrintDimensions:592 pages, 9.2 × 6.2 × 1.3 inPublished:October 24, 2017Publisher:Diversified PublishingLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0525528113

ISBN - 13:9780525528111

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OneRemarkably, the ending was almost quiet. After arguably the three most raucous days in golf history, the final meaningful stroke was a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th green at Hazeltine National Golf Club that Ryan Moore cozied to within a foot of the cup. From there he had two putts to clinch the Ryder Cup for the United States. Lee Westwood wasn’t going to make him bother with a tap-in. He conceded the putt—and their match—and, for the first time in eight years, the U.S. had won the Ryder Cup. It was 4:11 p.m. Central time on a bright, breezy, early fall afternoon in the southwestern corner of Minnesota, and an American quest—one that had, at times, felt like Don Quixote tilting at the windmill—was finally over. Moore was thirty-six, arguably the quietest member of the American team, an eleven-year PGA Tour veteran who, a week earlier, had been the last player selected by U.S. captain Davis Love III. Given that he had been 2 down with three holes to play and had rallied to win his match and clinch the Cup, he might have been expected to leap into someone’s arms. Instead, he took his cap off and shook hands with Westwood. The crowd applauded and some broke into what felt like the millionth “USA!” chant of the weekend. Love, who had been given a second chance to captain a Ryder Cup team, gave Moore a heartfelt hug. Others lined up to do the same. There were hugs all around for the American players, caddies, and wives. But there was no singing—as there always is when Europe wins the Cup—and no splashing of champagne. That would come later. Although Moore’s win had given the Americans the point that clinched the Cup, there were still three uncompleted matches on the golf course, and, since Ryder Cup tradition holds that all matches are played to completion, the six players involved kept on playing. Watching the quiet American celebration, Rory McIlroy was a little bit surprised. “It was almost weird,” McIlroy said later. “They waited so long, worked so hard, and played so well. I expected more.” He paused. “Maybe they were just relieved.” Love noticed it too. “Honestly, for a second I thought, ‘Hang on, am I wrong, did we not just win? Is it possible that it’s not over? But then I looked around, and everyone—I mean everyone—had tears in their eyes. Some guys were just sobbing. Everyone had worked so hard for almost two years to get to that moment that the reaction was actually beyond joy or elation—it was more than that. It was like seeing your child graduate from college when you just well up with so much pride and relief and memories that you don’t cheer, you break down and cry.” Relief. Joy. Catharsis. Every emotion was understandable. No American Ryder Cup team had ever been under the kind of pressure that Love’s team faced at Hazeltine. It wasn’t just three straight losses; six out of seven or eight out of ten—dating to 1995. It wasn’t just playing on home ground, after an extraordinary meltdown the last time the matches had been played in the U.S., or the fact that Europe was playing six Ryder Cup rookies—on the road. There was more—much more. There was the infamous “task force,” which the PGA of America had formed in the wake of an embarrassing and acrimonious—among the Americans—loss in Scotland in 2014. There was Phil Mickelson’s feud with Tom Watson, the American captain in Scotland. There was Love’s labeling of his team as “maybe the best team ever assembled,” the week before everyone made the trip north to Minnesota. And finally, there was Mickelson’s baffling decision to publicly take down 2004 U.S. captain Hal Sutton two days before the 2016 matches began.  “It’s almost as if they’re trying to figure out a way to help Europe win,” said Chubby Chandler, agent and best friend of European captain Darren Clarke. “I have no idea what they’re thinking over there.” Love had brought up New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, whom he had spent a little time with during one of the thousands (or so it seemed) of public appearances he had made as U.S. captain. Normally one of the most open and honest people in golf, Love had actually been a little bit cagey when answering questions leading up to Hazeltine. “I’m channeling Coach Belichick,” he had said, smiling, on several occasions. In truth, he was channeling Belichick—and many other successful coaches—but not by being circumspect with the media. It was all about creating an us-against-them mentality in his team room. There were twelve players, one captain, five vice captains, and—to a lesser extent— wives and partners, caddies and past Ryder Cup captains, who had been invited for the week. That was us. Everyone else was them. Even the fans, because Love knew they would turn on his players in a heartbeat if they didn’t play well—especially after all the prematch rhetoric and the past failures. There was no better example of that us-against-them mentality than Love’s reaction to an on-air argument between Golf Channel analysts Brandel Chamblee and David Duval, on Tuesday night before Friday’s start to the Ryder Cup. Duval had played on two Ryder Cup teams—the one that came from 10–6 down at Brookline in 1999 to win and the one that lost at the Belfry in 2002. He was a former number one player in the world and a major champion—having won the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 2001. In short, he’d been a star. Chamblee was a solid tour player, who won once in his PGA Tour career—at the 1998 Greater Vancouver Open. He got his degree from Texas in speech communications and has used his ability to communicate, along with a remarkable work ethic, to become the star on the Golf Channel in the last dozen years. Because he’s never afraid to express an opinion, Chamblee isn’t terribly popular among the current players, most of whom believe that former players should never be critical of current players. Like Chamblee, Duval has his college degree—most tour players don’t graduate from  college—and is one of the few ex-players who can stand toe to toe with Chamblee intellectually. The questions asked on-air on the first full day of practice rounds leading up to Friday morning’s start of the matches were: Who’s to blame for the U.S.’s past failures in the Ryder Cup? And was it lack of leadership? Chamblee, as usual, was direct and prepared. He blamed the failures of the American team on the two men who had been the leaders of those losing teams—Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. “A team takes on the personality of its leadership,” Chamblee said. “If there’s apathetic leadership, there will be apathetic play.” Duval adamantly disagreed. “You can’t assign losses to certain players,” he said. “It’s not about leadership, it’s about execution.” The two argued vehemently for almost ten minutes—with Frank Nobilo stuck in the middle, literally and figuratively. When Nobilo finally did get a chance to speak, he sided with Duval. At one point, Duval said to Chamblee, “I realize you’re never wrong, I understand that.” The anger was genuine—not staged for TV. By the time Golf Channel’s re-air of the evening show came on, word had spread—largely on the Internet and social media—about the Duval-Chamblee dustup. Several of the American players were watching the show in the team room on the lobby level of the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel—where both teams were staying. The hotel had been a Sofitel until Sheraton had bought it in 2013 and put $18 million in renovations into the property, in part because they were hoping to host the Ryder Cup teams. There were two large-screen TVs in the team room, and most of the U.S. team gathered around them, squeezing onto comfortable couches directly in front of the televisions to watch the entire nine-minute-and-fifty-foursecond segment. Love was sitting on the other side of the room, grabbing a late dinner, when he saw his players suddenly crowding around the TV. “What’s going on over there?” he asked. “Something you have to see,” several players responded. Love could see that the Golf Channel was on and that the usual evening foursome of Rich Lerner, Chamblee, Nobilo, and Duval was on the screen. “I slammed my hand on the table and I said, ‘Hey, fellas, what did we say about tuning out the noise this week?’ ” Love remembered. “They all just looked at me and said, ‘Okay, okay, but you gotta see this.’ ” So Love put his dinner aside and walked over to where the sound was turned up and he could hear the argument unfold. Brandt Snedeker, who had heard the debate the first time it aired, had attached a microphone to one of the TVs to make sure the sound could be heard in the entire room. Jordan Spieth had also seen it and, sitting on the arm of a couch where Mickelson sat, was concerned. “We’d done everything right until then,” he said. “I was thinking, ‘Oh boy, this is going to upset Phil and set us back.’ I was watching him closely. By the time it was over, he had this big grin on his face and I knew it was okay.” Love’s players were practically cheering Duval on by the time the segment finished. Love suddenly had an idea. He turned to Mac Barnhardt, who has been his agent forever, and had also represented Duval in his TV negotiations. “You have any idea where Duval’s staying?” he asked. “Sure,” Barnhardt said. “Right here.” Love was a bit baffled. The PGA of America controlled all 244 rooms in the hotel for the week, and no one from the media was supposed to be staying there. Duval was a past major champion and a two-time Ryder Cupper, but he was in town as a member of the media. “I got him in,” Barnhardt admitted. “Used your name. He just wanted to see the guys as the week went on.” Love wasn’t the least bit upset. He looked up Duval’s number in his phone and texted him. “Where are you right now?” he wrote. “Pulling up to the hotel,” Duval answered. “I’ll meet you in the lobby,” Love wrote back. He walked quickly from the big room at the back of the lobby to the entrance of the hotel without saying anything to anyone. “It would be great if you came into the room right now,” Love told Duval. “Everybody was watching. They’re all fired up about it.” Duval agreed and walked across the lobby with Love. He waited around a corner and out of sight while Love went back into the room. “Hey, fellas,” he said. “There’s someone outside who wants to say hello to you guys.” He signaled Jim Furyk, one of his vice captains, whom he had stationed in the doorway, and Furyk waved Duval inside. When Duval walked in the door, the room exploded. “It was perfect,” Love said. “It was totally unscripted, not part of any of the planning for the week.” Love asked Duval to say a few words. Duval did—talking about the difference between statistics and passion. “You can’t explain the Ryder Cup with statistics,” he said. “That’s what I was trying to tell Brandel. You have to experience the Ryder Cup as a player to understand what it really means. I will always think of myself as a Ryder Cupper—even though I haven’t played in one since 2002.” The players loved this. To them, Duval was one of their own, one of us because he had played in the Ryder Cup, knew the pressures that came with it, and was on their side. Chamblee had been a very solid tour player and was then probably the most insightful golf commentator on TV. But he was, most definitely, one of them. The passion that filled the room that night—almost sixty hours before the first shot was going to be struck on Friday morning—may explain why, in their moment of victory, the Americans seemed almost subdued. Later, several of them would stand on the bridge that had been built across the walkway that would normally lead from the clubhouse to the range (built there so players could make that walk without having to push through throngs) and spray cheering fans with champagne. But they weren’t about to go all out with TV cameras rolling; with the media around; even with adoring fans chanting their names and their country’s initials repeatedly. “Wow, it was crowded up there,” Zach Johnson said later. “My wife [Kim] is a little claustrophobic. She was definitely not comfortable.” The real celebration would come later, back at the hotel, inside the team room, where even player agents and swing coaches would eventually be asked to leave the American party. No one who wasn’t us belonged in the room. No exceptions. Because even in their moment of ultimate victory, there was still a good deal of scar tissue in the room. For some—like Mickelson and Love—it dated back more than twenty years. For others—Spieth, Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker—it went back only a couple of years. But they all felt it—perhaps even more than their joy. Amid all the hugging and sobbing that afternoon, Love had been struck most by the reaction of Bubba Watson—the last man left off the team, who had volunteered to be a vice captain after Love gave him the news he wouldn’t be playing. “Bubba came over and was just sobbing on my shoulder,” Love said. “My son, Dru, was standing there waiting to get his hug. After a while, he realized this was going to go on for a while and he went to find someone else to hug. “That was the moment it all really hit me and I broke down. Bubba hadn’t even played and it meant that much to him. We were all just too emotional to storm the green and jump on one another.” And too exhausted. It had been a long week. And a long two years. The process that led to the moment when Westwood conceded the final putt to Moore had actually begun four years earlier, at the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club, outside Chicago, a little more than four hundred miles south and east of Hazeltine. It started when Martin Kaymer rolled in a seven-foot par putt on Medinah’s 18th hole to beat Steve Stricker one up in the eleventh of Sunday’s twelve singles matches. Kaymer’s win gave Europe a 14–13 lead, meaning that the best the Americans could do was a 14–14 tie. Since Europe had won the Cup in 2010, a tie meant they retained it. When Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari halved the final match, Europe won by a score of 141/2–131/2. Kaymer ending up as the hero was a complete surprise—to him, to his teammates, to everyone involved. He had played poorly for most of 2012—dropping from number four in the world rankings at the end of 2011 to number thirty-two—and had just squeezed onto the team as the tenth of the ten players who automatically qualified, largely on the basis of the points he had accumulated in 2011. Captain José-María Olazábal had played him only once the first two days, in the Friday afternoon four-ball matches, and he and Justin Rose had lost comfortably to Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson—Kaymer failing to make a single birdie. “The only reason I played at all was because Jose wanted everyone to play at least one match before Sunday,” he said. “I felt sorry for Justin having to play with me. No one wanted to play with me at that point, and I didn’t blame them.” By Sunday, though, Kaymer was feeling a little bit better about himself and his game. A lot of it stemmed from a conversation he’d had after his loss on Friday with Bernhard Langer—the greatest German player in history and Kaymer’s boyhood hero. “He’s still my hero,” Kaymer said with a grin. “He sat me down and said, ‘Where do you see yourself within this team? Do you understand how good these players are and how good you have to be to be one of them?’ Knowing what a massive role he’d played in the Ryder Cup in the past—with good results and bad results—I knew he knew what he was talking about. It made me think how fortunate I was to be there, not how much pressure there was on me because I was there. “A lot of people thought I played badly that year because of my swing change. That really wasn’t it. I changed my swing in 2011 and won with the new swing at the end of that year. I just didn’t deal with everything that came with being number one in the world very well. “At the time, I was the second-youngest player [Tiger Woods being the youngest] to ever be number one. When Rory [McIlroy] and Jordan [Spieth] got there after I did, they handled it better than I did. That simple. I questioned a lot of it and a lot of my feelings about it. I still remember sitting with my father the night I became number one [after the World Match Play tournament in February 2011] and thinking, ‘Is this it?’ All the years I’d worked to get to this and it felt good, I was proud, but I didn’t feel like I was a different person. I think I expected something more. When I didn’t get it, something went out of me a little. I didn’t appreciate the whole thing the way I probably should have. “But talking to Langer made me realize again that I was truly lucky to be where I was.” Somehow, Kaymer had kept that thought in his head during the last few holes of his match against Stricker, knowing their match might decide the outcome. “That last hour, I’ve never felt anything like that in my life,” he said. “I knew exactly where the matches stood and the importance of my match. There wasn’t any doubt, because we were off 11th and you could see the scores of the other matches going up one by one. “I kept thinking to myself, ‘How brilliant is it that your teammates have given you this opportunity, this chance to be a part of history?’ That doesn’t mean I wasn’t nervous or that I hit every shot just as I wanted to. But I was never scared, never felt as if I couldn’t handle it all.” On the 18th hole, Kaymer found the back of the green from a fairway bunker, but his birdie putt slid about seven feet past the hole. Twentyone years earlier, Langer had faced a six-footer on the 18th hole at Kiawah Island that would have retained the Cup for Europe—and missed. Now Kaymer faced an almost identical situation, only with a slightly longer putt. “I never doubted I would make the putt,” he said. “I wasn’t upset with the first putt, because I wasn’t hesitant, I didn’t leave it short. I left myself an uphill putt that if I could just get on line—I knew the speed would be right. “It all felt good and when the putt went in, I was thrilled in a way I had never been thrilled before and doubt I will ever be thrilled again. Winning majors [Kaymer has won two] is a great thing. But that’s just about you; it’s for yourself. This was about the team; it was about my country and it was about knowing how much [Captain José-María] Olazábal wanted to win. The look on his face when we hugged is something I’ll never forget.” Even as the Europeans celebrated on the 18th green—with Woods and Molinari waiting in the fairway to complete the final match—the questions had started for the Americans. It was Europe’s seventh win in nine Ryder Cups and was, by far, the most stunning loss the U.S. had ever endured. They had led 10–4 midway through the afternoon on Saturday, only to lose the last two matches of the day and then get outscored 81/2–31/2 in the singles on Sunday. Only once before had a team come from 10–6 down on Sunday—the U.S. at Brookline in 1999—but that had been on home ground. To win from 10–6 down on the road was almost unthinkable. People questioned some of Captain Davis Love’s strategy, most notably his decision to sit Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley on Saturday afternoon when the two of them had dominated three matches. When Mickelson defended Love by saying it was his idea to not play, the doubters said, “Aha, Love’s too much of a players’ captain—he let Mickelson talk him into a mistake.” Maybe Love, one of golf’s nicest men, hadn’t been tough enough on his team—although for most of two days his approach had apparently been letter-perfect. A change was needed. Einstein’s oft-repeated saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” was raised by many.  One person who had that thought that was someone who had been up close with the U.S. team at Medinah, even though few who watched the matches knew who he was. His name was Ted Bishop. And he was about to change Ryder Cup history. Ted Bishop was at Medinah as the vice president of the PGA of America— meaning he was the incoming president, his two-year term scheduled to begin in November. He watched from inside the ropes as the U.S. raced to a big lead only to collapse on the final day. Perhaps the most important task that awaited Bishop was picking the next American Ryder Cup captain. That was both a burden and a privilege handed to each PGA president. All had advisers—the other two PGA officers, the vice president and the secretary—and the PGA staff, most notably the CEO and those who worked on the Ryder Cup year after year. The most important of those was probably Julius Mason, who was the vice president of communications and had worked on every Ryder Cup since 1993. That was the last year the U.S. had won the Cup on European soil. The captain had been Tom Watson. Years earlier, Mason had written down a list of potential U.S. captains on a piece of paper he kept in his desk drawer. Ryder Cup captains were almost always men who had won a major championship—preferably the PGA Championship—and were somewhere between forty-five and fifty-five, meaning their playing careers (the Senior tour aside) were either winding down or over. The name on Mason’s list for 2014 was David Toms—who fit all the basic criteria. Like Love, he was a past PGA champion, someone who was highly respected by his fellow pros. Toms would be forty-seven when the 2014 Ryder Cup was contested at Gleneagles in Scotland. Love had been forty-eight at Medinah. Corey Pavin had been fifty during the matches in Wales in 2010, and Paul Azinger, the last American captain to win, had been forty-eight when the U.S. had won at Valhalla in Kentucky in 2008. Certainly no one would have objected to Toms as captain. There were only two players in the previous thirty years who clearly should have been captains and had been overlooked. The first was Larry Nelson—a three-time major champion (including two PGAs) who had fought in Vietnam. Nelson was an ideal person to lead a team representing his country. The other oversight was Hale Irwin, a three-time U.S. Open champion. Irwin never understood why he was overlooked, although the fact that he was still very competitive as a player into his late forties may have hurt him. The fact that his major wins were all U.S. Opens and not PGAs might also have been a factor. “I have no idea why I didn’t ever get picked,” Irwin said at Hazeltine during the 2016 Cup. “It would have been my greatest honor.” Nelson feels the same way. A year younger than Irwin, his time also should have come in the 1990s—he turned fifty in 1997. But Dave Stockton got the nod in 1991; Watson in 1993; Lanny Wadkins in 1995; Tom Kite in 1997; and Ben Crenshaw in 1999. Even though only Watson, with eight, had won more majors than Nelson, the others were all considered bigger names than the soft-spoken Nelson. One might have thought that having a big name as captain wouldn’t matter to the PGA of America. Azinger found out that wasn’t the case when he met with PGA officials in 2014, after the U.S. had lost the Cup for a third straight time. Azinger, as the only winning American captain of the twenty-first century, had been asked to drive from his home in Bradenton, Florida, to PGA headquarters in Palm Beach as an unofficial consultant before the PGA decided what to do next. “Do you want a captain who can win the Ryder Cup for you or sell the Ryder Cup for you?” Azinger asked. “Both” was the answer. “I gave them points for honesty,” Azinger said. Ted Bishop wasn’t all that concerned with selling the Ryder Cup that would take place during his presidency. For one thing, it would be held in Scotland. That meant it was the responsibility of the European Tour to sell it. His job was to try to win it. He was convinced that the best man to do that job for him was Tom Watson. In many ways, Watson being the captain in 2014 made perfect sense. Five of his eight major championship wins had been at the British Open—or, as it is known in Europe, “The Open Championship.” He was beloved throughout Great Britain, but especially in Scotland, where he had won four of his five Opens. He was also the last American captain to win the Cup on European soil—in 1993. And he was about as respected as anyone in golf; not an iconic figure on the same level as Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus, but one short step below them. Bishop didn’t know Watson—had never even met him. But he was able to get his phone number and called to ask if he would be interested in being captain again. “Ted, I’ve been waiting for this call for a long time,” Watson told him—once he’d figured out who Bishop was. “I’d been hoping to get another shot at being captain for years,” Watson said later. “I sat and watched us lose time after time, and it was torture. I honestly believed I could help. I think the PGA of America had known that for a while, but the tradition had become that you captained once and that was it. I understood that. But with each loss, I wanted another crack at it even more.” In all, six men had captained more than one American Ryder Cup team (Walter Hagen had captained the first six), but the last to do so had been Nicklaus in 1987. That was a special circumstance, since the matches were being held at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, the club that Nicklaus had founded, built, designed, and owned. It didn’t make sense for anyone else to captain. As it turned out, Europe won the Cup that year, the first time since 1951—and the second time in history—that the U.S. had lost the matches on home ground. The European players were so thrilled with their 15–13 victory that they danced on the 18th green. “I hated to lose, but if an American captain had to lose in the U.S. I was glad it was me,” Nicklaus said years later. “I wouldn’t have wished it on anyone, but I just thought I could take what came with the loss because, being honest, of my place in the game.” That didn’t mean Nicklaus wasn’t furious with the outcome. The American team arrived late at the closing ceremony because they were all at Nicklaus’s house a couple of hundred yards away from the 18th green getting a tongue-lashing from their captain. “I just couldn’t believe how many of our guys hit it in the water at eighteen that day with matches on the line,” Nicklaus said, able to laugh at the now-distant memory. “Honestly, I couldn’t understand it. I felt badly later that I climbed all over them the way I did. It wasn’t as if they weren’t trying. Part of it was frustration, part of it was me wanting them to get the message that you have to be mentally prepared in match play for everything to be on the line on the 18th hole. For whatever reason, that day, our guys didn’t handle the pressure of the 18th hole.” Those matches set a tone that changed only on occasion over most of the next thirty years. Beginning with Europe’s 1985 win at the Belfry, through Kaymer’s clinching putt at Medinah, Europe was 9-4-1 in a competition the U.S. had once dominated—Europe retaining the Cup in 1989 when the teams tied. “It seemed like whenever Europe had to make a putt or win a hole, they did,” Watson said. “It was heartbreaking to watch.” Bishop believed that he needed a captain who would not be one of the players’ peers. They needed a true authority figure, someone they would look up to and respect. With Watson as captain, there wouldn’t be any scenes like Saturday morning at Medinah when Mickelson had convinced Love to “stick to the plan” and sit him and Bradley out in the afternoon. “Honestly, I would have said to Phil, ‘Take a hot shower, get something to eat, and relax for a while,’ ” Watson said. “You guys are our best team. We need you out there.” In a twist, Watson would be involved in a crucial Saturday morning conversation with Mickelson at Gleneagles. This time, Mickelson didn’t convince his captain to change his mind. As it turned out, that was a history-changing moment.

Editorial Reviews

"Feinstein compellingly re-creates the excitement, sometimes shot by shot, especially in the classic McIlroy-Reed singles match, which has come to be a symbol of golf at its best, both for shotmaking and sportsmanship. A great moment in golf history, vividly captured."--Booklist (starred review)"Golf fans love Feinstein's books because he's trusted by the pros and thus can give inside information no other journalist can capture, plus he has a flair for telling a great story.... His journalistic style of short, pithy paragraphs drives the narrative along at breakneck speed. Recommended for any sports enthusiast and a must for golfers of all handicaps." --Kirkus Reviews"Feinstein’s talent always has been the depth of his relationships, which enables him to get important figures to divulge intimate details of what transpired. . . The book features one interesting anecdote after another, including inside reaction to controversial statements by Phil Mickelson; how an injured Tiger Woods swallowed his ego to play a supporting role as an assistant captain; and more. In the hands of a lesser writer, a book about a lopsided match would have been hard to pull off. Feinstein, though, knows how to tell a good story, regardless of the outcome."--Chicago Tribune"Feinstein spends nearly three quarters of the book setting us up for the 28-point war at Hazeltine, deep-diving into Ryder Cup backstory and behind-the scenes conversations, power plays and personality studies to ratchet up the tension and reveal this as truly the biggest event in golf . . . He keeps up the quick pace even while fleshing out the stories of individual players, and offers insights on just what motivates and challenges the world’s best to find another level on a stage unlike any other . . . By the time Feinstein gets to the blow-by-blow of the matches, we’re feeling that fire, too. And loving it."--Golf Tips Magazine