cover image The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup

The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup

John Feinstein. Doubleday, $28.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-385-54109-1

Feinstein (A Good Walk Spoiled), a sportswriter best known for his golf coverage, provides a colorful story of the 2016 Ryder Cup—which broke an eight-year losing streak for Americans—that even non-golfers will enjoy. Dating back to 1921, this team competition between both new and established golfers from the U.S. and Europe is now one of the sport’s premier events; it also attracts more raucous fans than other major golf tournament in the world. Tension and drama ran high for the 2016 Ryder Cup, hosted at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., just days after golf icon Arnold Palmer’s death. The Americans were in the midst of a losing streak that began in 2008 and desperate to redeem themselves. Rather than provide a hole-by-hole narrative, Feinstein uses his tight connections within pro golf’s inner circle to take readers into the lives and minds of golfers such as Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, and Rory McIlroy. Context is central to understanding the significance of the Americans’ 2016 Ryder Cup victory, which is why Feinstein digs deep into the event’s illustrious history, peppering his prose with astute observations and witty lines and including an examination of Tiger Woods (“Woods had been raised by his father to believe that anyone with a club in his hand was the enemy”). Feinstein has written more than two dozen books, and this one ranks among his best. (Oct.)