Dec 13, 2014

'Draw in the Dunes' by Neil Sagebiel - Book Review - 2014 Gift Guide

Before I read Neil Sagebiel sophomore novel on the epic Ryder Cup matches of 1969 I had no idea of the climate of golf at the time of the matches as well as the extent of the "concession" by Jack Nicklaus.

Neil does a great job in bringing us to the pinnacle of the matches. Stringing interviews, various press clippings and pretty much everything available on those 1969 matches. What could be better than two teams tied with two of the best players in the world squaring off in the final decisive Ryder Cup match.

Both teams are square headed into the final singles match. The 18th hole, with the teams scores tied at 15½ apiece, Jack Nicklaus with a birdie from five feet out to draw or win. The Golden Bear drains the putt. Tony Jacklin needs a two foot putt to halve the point and force the tie. 

Jack picks up Tony's ball marker to concede the putt. 

 "I don't believe you'd have missed that putt, but I would never give you the opportunity in these circumstances." Jack's spontaneous gesture, which shocked several teammates, quickly became "The Concession." The 1969 Ryder Cup I don't think we'll see another like it!

Neil Sagebiel was nice enough to answer a few questions I had after reading the book.

1. What made yo decide to write about the 69 Ryder Cup for your 2nd book?
I was looking for a followup to "The Longest Shot" and I saw a clip of the famous Jack Nicklaus concession to Tony Jacklin on the final green in the final match of the 1969 Ryder. It's widely acknowledged as one of the greatest moments in the Ryder Cup, as well as golf, and I wondered why it mattered so much and what the full story was. 
2. Who was the best interview and why for your book?
There were several great ones, but it was a big thrill for me to meet and interview Jack Nicklaus because of his stature in the game. It was very exciting to visit with him. 
3. Anyone you would of liked to have interviewed but didn't?
I would have liked to interview Lee Trevino, but, through his agent, Trevino declined. I did interview nearly all of the surviving members of both the U.S. and Great Britain teams, including Jack Nicklaus, Tony Jacklin, Raymond Floyd, Billy Casper, Peter Alliss, Bernard Gallacher, Frank Beard, Tommy Aaron, Brian Huggett, Neil Coles, Ken Still, Gene Littler, Peter Townsend, Brian Barnes.
4.Pulling your story from so many resources was it hard to compile everything into such a concise read?
It helped that I had put together a similar narrative in "The Longest Shot," in which I attempted to put the reader at the event. I had good material available to me for the second book, so it was all about carefully stitching it together and making it a cohesive read. 
5. Do you think something like what happened in the final match back in 69 could happen in today's Ryder Cup age?
I think it is unlikely. It would take a strong figure in the game, someone with a sense of history and a true sportsman. And also someone who could take the heat he invariably would get for conceding a missable putt with the Ryder Cup in the balance.
6. Do any of today's modern day PGA pros remind you of any of the players involved in the 69 Ryder Cup?
Players like Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson do to some extent. They are not as guarded as others about revealing themselves, their personalities, on and off the course, which is similar to players of olden days when there was less scrutiny and attention paid to the sport.
 'Draw in the Dunes' by Neil Sagebiel is a book worthy of being on this years "gift guide". For that golfer that has everything  'Draw in the Dunes' is a must read for the "golf" fan.

No comments: