The Masters: Golf, Money, and Power in Augusta, Georgia

March 19, 2015 - Comment

The Masters golf tournament weaves a hypnotic spell. It is the toughest ticket in sports, with black-market tickets selling for $10,000 and more. Success at Augusta National breeds legends, while failure can overshadow even the most brilliant of careers. But as Curt Sampson, author of the bestselling Hogan, reveals in The Masters, a cold heart

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The Masters golf tournament weaves a hypnotic spell. It is the toughest ticket in sports, with black-market tickets selling for $10,000 and more. Success at Augusta National breeds legends, while failure can overshadow even the most brilliant of careers. But as Curt Sampson, author of the bestselling Hogan, reveals in The Masters, a cold heart beats behind the warm antebellum façade of this famous Augusta course. And that heart belongs to the man who killed himself on the grounds two decades ago. Club and tournament founder Clifford Roberts, a New York stockbroker, still seems to run the place from his grave. An elusive and reclusive figure, Roberts pulled the strings that made the Masters the greatest golf tournament in the world. His story–including his relationship with presidents, power brokers, and every golf champion from Bobby Jones to Arnold Palmer to Jack Nicklaus–has never been told. Until now.
        
The Masters is an amazing slice of history, taking us inside the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Augusta’s most famous member. It is a look at how the new South coexists with the old South: the relationships between blacks and whites, between Southerners and Northerners, between rich and poor–with such characters as James Brown, the Godfather of Soul; the great boxer Beau Jack; and Frank Stranahan, the playboy golfer and the only white pro ever banned from the tournament. The Masters is a spellbinding portrait of a tournament unlike any other.Curt Sampson follows his exceptional biography of Ben Hogan with another sweeping exploration of one of golf’s icier hearts: Augusta National and the powers behind the Masters. A combination of history, sociology, and good old sports writing, The Masters counterpoints a rich, white institution with the town surrounding it that is anything but. Ultimately, the book tells the story of a singular sporting experience–and the marvelous drama it has provided–that manages to succeed spectacularly despite the arrogance, dourness, and manipulations of the homogenous bastion that deigns to let the rest of the world intrude upon its exclusiveness for one week every April.

Comments

Anonymous says:

Incredible truth of The Masters in finally published! Having played at Augusta National and attending the tournament for over 25 years, everything Curt Sampson has to say is true. Until now, nobody had the courage to publish the truth, for fear of losing their “privileges”. His book is not a revelation of new facts, but is more a history lesson of the elitist group of men who founded the club and the tournament and their relationship with the city of Augusta. The members are still pompous! We forget that what we see now on TV is far from how this event started. Very factual. Well written. Easy reading. A good gift for any golfer who dreams about Augusta National.

rodboomboom says:

Provocative Insights into The Club and Tournamet If Sampson’s probe is anywhere near the truth, it surely smudges the high place we give to Augusta and The Masters. 

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