A GENTLEMAN'S GAME
The unsung, often downtrodden heroes of the golf world—the caddies—stand at the center of Coyne's ironically titled debut. In 1985, 13-year-old Timmy Price shows a mastery of golf that inspires awe in adults and envy among his peers, though his father can barely afford to play at the exclusive Fox Chase Country Club in suburban Delaware. Timmy becomes the youngest junior state champion in history, but is forced by his father to work as a caddy; through his foul-mouthed, eccentric co-workers—or "loopers," as they are known—he discovers a seamier side of the game he loves. He learns hard, disillusioning lessons when his opponent cheats in a tournament and the adults he meets, though rich and powerful, are dishonest, drunk and often morally bankrupt. Timmy becomes friends with a disadvantaged caddy, Jamie Byrne, who not only comes from a bad home, but has lost his thumbs in an unexplained accident. When Jamie suddenly and mysteriously stops coming to the club, Timmy discovers an even darker secret about one of its powerful members, a secret that changes his whole outlook on life and golf. There are a few unmet expectations in the plot, such as one concerning Timmy's violent and antisocial brother, who lives in the attic and is like a gun placed in a drawer in act one but not used in act five. Although Timmy's final decision about where golf fits in his life will leave some readers puzzled, this appealing first effort is a satisfyingly idiosyncratic coming-of-age story dealing with class, family and the elusive challenge and fickleness of the sport. Agent, Dan Mandel, Sanford J. Greenburger. (May)FYI:An independent film version starring Mason Gamble and Gary Sinise, directed by Mills Goodloe and shot where Coyne once caddied, is scheduled for release in late 2001.