cover image Tin Cup Dreams: A Long Shot Makes It on the PGA Tour

Tin Cup Dreams: A Long Shot Makes It on the PGA Tour

Michael D'Antonio. Hyperion Books, $23.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-6497-3

The premise is simple and not unfamiliar: a writer attends the PGA's qualifying tournament, or Q. School, and latches on to one of the winners, whom he then follows around for a season on the tour. The resulting chronicle would have been a disaster had the player, like so many Q. School graduates, not made the cut on the tour; D'Antonio lucked out in finding Esteban Toledo, a self-taught Mexican grinder who just wants to earn enough to keep his Tour card for another year and for whom a Tour victory would represent not fame and fortune but the final step away from his dirt-poor origins in Mexicali, where his family ""never had money for [Christmas] presents or a tree, or a feast."" Although D'Antonio's recounting of round after round of golf grows a bit tiresome, you can't help but pull for Toledo. He overestimates his own mistakes. He practices with singular will. He has to learn to trust his well-meaning caddy. And he frequently doubts his own self-worth, especially when confronted by the racism that clearly pervades Tour events--on several occasions, Toledo is denied access to player areas because he's Mexican. On top of Toledo's quest, readers also get a fascinating look at the PGA not shown on TV, plus dozens of interesting tidbits and anecdotes from golf history. Overall, D'Antonio comes in at one under. (Mar.)