cover image Paper Tiger: An Obsessed Golfer's Quest to Play with the Pros

Paper Tiger: An Obsessed Golfer's Quest to Play with the Pros

Tom Coyne, . . Gotham, $26 (328pp) ISBN 978-1-59240-209-0

The title is a sly acknowledgment on Coyne's part of the karmic debt his memoir owes to George Plimpton, but while Plimpton merely finagled his way onto the PGA Tour, Coyne (A Gentleman's Game ) sets himself a higher goal: by dedicating a solid year to improving his golf game, he hopes to actually pass the qualifying school tournament that would allow him to compete as a professional. Believing that the difference between good and great golfers is consistency, Coyne moves to Florida for the winter for intensive training with swing doctors and sports psychologists, staying out on the course until his hands bleed. He faces the inevitable (and sometimes unexpected) setbacks with resigned humor, as he comes to realize that his year's age difference with Tiger Woods is the only thing he'll have in common with the champ. (In fact, it takes all the skill he can muster not to wind up DFL—"Dead Fucking Last.") Coyne treads a fine line between sarcasm and sympathy in his observations of his competitors, and though he occasionally gets lost in big-picture ruminations, his quest should resonate with weekend golfers who dream of going all the way. (June)