PAYNE AT PINEHURST: The Greatest U.S. Open Ever

Bill Chastain, Author, Tracey Stewart, Foreword by
Bill Chastain, Author, Tracey Stewart, Foreword by . St. Martin's/Dunne $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-33009-5
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-312-33010-1
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4668-2938-1
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One year after blowing a sizable, final-round lead to lose the U.S. Open by a single stroke, Payne Stewart made a remarkable comeback in 1999 and won the coveted tournament in memorable fashion on the No. 2 course at Pinehurst Country Club in North Carolina. But only a few months later, Stewart died in a plane crash after his chartered jet inexplicably lost cabin pressure. Chastain (The Steve Spurrier Story ) recounts the story of this final victory and the talented golfer who was perhaps more famous for his signature knickers and tam-o'-shanters than his many professional achievements. Along with chapters on Donald Ross, the prolific architect who designed Pinehurst No. 2, and the history of the U.S. Open, Chastain describes the circumstances leading up to the 1999 showdown and follows one unknown club professional who qualified for the only PGA Tour event that is truly "open" to anyone able to pay the entry fee and survive the demanding qualifying rounds. Yet this account is so chock-full of quoted remarks—from Stewart's wife, caddy and psychologist to fellow golf professionals, sports commentators and USGA officials—that Chastain hardly has space left over to cram in a few lines of his own. While the author has unearthed some piquant tidbits of golf lore, the extensive interviews anatomize the minutiae of Stewart's life and the overcrowded, piecemeal composition results in a characterless, secondhand narrative. In a tale that is frequently digressive and occasionally tedious, Chastain never explains why this particular Open was the "greatest ever." Agent, Frank R. Scatoni. (June)

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