A new book by prolific writer John Feinstein has just published, and it’s sure to garner lots of attention from the golfing world.
Feinstein’s “The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup” focuses on the U.S versus Europe competition that took place at Hazeltine Country Club in Chaska, Minnesota. However the majority of the 320-page book does not focus on the actual competition that took place over a four-day period. Those summaries don’t come into play until about page 230.
Over the years, this friendly game of golf has transformed from a gentlemen’s game to one that is passionately fueled by nationalistic pride. To that end, Feinstein captures the many and sometimes dramatic one-act plays amongst players that featured continuous drama.
The history and intensity received much of the focus in the book. A few of the stories that unfolded include:
- 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 U.S. 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 U.S. team win, which was never the case when he was playing.
- Also, Arnold Palmer’s death just prior to the Ryder Cup served as a U.S. team motivator to win the cup for the first time since 2008.
Established in 1927 and held every other year, the Ryder Cup has been a cordial match originally contested between the United States and Great Britain and Ireland.
The United States holds the overall lead winning 26 of the 41 matches. Eighteen of those matches took place before 1979, but then the format expanded to include all European golfers. Since then, 19 matches have been contested with Europe winning 10, the U.S. eight, with one match tied.
Published by Doubleday, John Feinstein’s “The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup” retails for about $16 on Amazon here.
Rick Stedman is an avid golfer, RVer, and writer who lives in Olympia, Washington. Rick writes a golf column, “The RV Golfer,” which is published every month in rvlife.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.