In John Feinstien's A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour, someone asks Faldo, after his final round in the PGA, if his failure to win a major last year was a problem with his putter.
"The problem, " Faldo said, "was with the puttee."
If you've ever shanked a two footer, or taken a divot out of the green, you'll know something of what he was talking about, but for a fully textured understanding of this most cerebral of games, John Feinstein's best-selling account of the 1994 US PGA Tour is essential reading.
Feinstein sets himself the task of appreciating the game through an understanding of the man attached to the club shaft, and his studies of John Daly and Nick Faldo, in particular, are wonderfully observed and rendered.
Daly, and the drink, drugs and violence with which he was living, had a deep and lasting impact on the professional game in 1994 and beyond. He made excellence and achievement at golf look brutal and ugly, and the American public, who like to see a little blood and sweat for their money, loved it. The genteel narcissism that had been the spirit of the tour for so long dissolved in his wake.
Faldo, silent, brooding and an obsessive deconstructor of golf swings and mindsets, cuts a very different figure and Feinstein's book is one of the most complete studies of this extraordinary sportsman ever written. For Faldo and Daly, more than most, the golf course became a public arena for a personal struggle. Each round of golf was a journey into inner space.
Fortunately, there are lots of amusing and revealing anecdotes to accompany the psychological analysis and we are largely spared ramblings of the "humanity-in-every- bunker-shot" kind.
Feinstein's succinct style reflects this commitment to clarity, making this a readable and definitive work on the subject of man's pursuit of the small, round ball. --Alex Hankin