Doug Sanders, ‘Blessed to Have the Career I Had,’ Dies at 86

Embed from Getty Images DOUG SANDERS MIGHT BE IN the World Golf Hall of Fame had he made that 30-inch par putt to win the 1970 British Open at the Old Course in St. Andrews. Instead, Sanders lost to Jack Nicklaus the following day in an 18-hole playoff when the Golden Bear sank a birdie … Read more

How 1969 Changed a Boy’s Life and the Ryder Cup

This originally published at this blog on September 1, 2014, and also on The History Reader by St. Martin’s Press. During the run-up to the 2016 Ryder Cup, you might hear about the 1969 Ryder Cup and Jack Nicklaus’s famous act of sportsmanship. I wrote the book on it. By Neil Sagebiel 1969 was a … Read more

Muirfield Will Vote Again on Female Membership

NOW THAT IT HAS LOST the British Open, Muirfield is rethinking the necessity of female members. The Associated Press reported: GULLANE, Scotland — Muirfield intends to stage another vote on whether to admit female members after being stripped of its right to host the British Open.  The Scottish club failed in May to get the … Read more

Profile of Tommy Armour, The Silver Scot

Part one of two on golf legend Tommy Armour (1896-1968). By John CoyneCopyright © John Coyne. Used with permission. TOMMY ARMOUR, NICKNAMED THE SILVER SCOT, is today perhaps best known, if he is remembered at all, as a teaching pro, having written, with Herb Graffis, one of the great instruction books on the game, How … Read more

RIP Irish Golf Legend Christy O’Connor Sr.

HALL OF FAMER AND IRISHMAN Christy O’Connor Sr. died over the weekend at the age of 91. O’Connor played on 10 Ryder Cup teams and “won more than 20 important British and Irish tournaments,” said the Irish Independent. Billy Casper lavished praise on O’Connor when I interviewed him for my book about the 1969 Ryder … Read more

Gene Sarazen: Making a Name (and a Club) for Himself

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection. (Flickr Creative Commons) By John CoyneCopyright © John Coyne. Used with permission. GENE SARAZEN CREATED WHAT HE NEEDED to get the job done. He began with his name. Given the name Eugene Saraceni and thinking “Saraceni” sounded too much like a violin player, not a golfer, … Read more

Profile of Henry William ‘Harry’ Vardon

Part one of two on golf legend Harry Vardon (1870-1937). By John Coyne Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission. HENRY WILLIAM “HARRY” VARDON, who is credited with giving golf the modern swing and the Vardon grip, published a book in 1922 entitled The Gist of Golf. I came across a reissue recently, published in … Read more

Slaying the Dragon of Golf Snobbery

By John Coyne Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission. LAST YEAR THE ROYAL AND ANCIENT Golf Club of St. Andrews allowed women to join for the first time in its 262-year history. Not only that, but since 2012 women are accepted as members of Augusta National, even African-Americans! Yes, times are changin’ in clubs. … Read more

2015 Rewind: Zach Johnson’s Improbable Open

(The following piece originally published on July 20, 2015.) MORE THAN EIGHT YEARS AFTER being no one’s pick to win the Masters, Zach Johnson has won the Open Championship by shooting a final-round 66 and defeating 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and Australian Marc Leishman in a four-hole playoff at the Old Course in St. … Read more

2015 Rewind: Jack Nicklaus Turns 75

(The following piece originally published on January 21, 2015.) Jack Nicklaus in his North Palm Beach office in May 2013. JACK NICKLAUS WAS BORN ON THIS day in 1940 in Upper Arlington, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. He took up golf in earnest at age 10, putting in long hours at Scioto Country Club, where Bobby Jones … Read more