I will never see Seabiscuit, Friday Night Lights, Fever Pitch or ESPN’s Season on the Brink. I have nothing against the movies – well, except that Fever Pitch starred Jimmy Fallon – but the books they are based on reside in my Pantheon of sports books.
So if having four movies not worth seeing sounds nice, having five sounds poetic. Lucky for me, Disney exists.
In 1913, British golfers Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, the two biggest golfers in the world (in star power, and in Ray’s case, physical size) set across the ocean for a tour of the United States. The tour would culminate in their dual entry into the 1913 U.S. Open and, if their British benefactors had anything to say about it, taking the championship back across the pond with them.
Ever since Francis Ouimet was a young boy and had constructed a crude three-hole golf course in his back yard, he, like most young golfers of his era, he worshiped Harry Vardon. His greatest teacher, aside from experience, was Vardon’s series of books on golf, according to author Mark Frost.
On a rainy Saturday in 1913, Vardon, a professional looking to claim his last major championship, and Ouimet, an amateur whose house was about 100 yards from several Brookline holes, embarked on a 36-hole playoff for the Open. Both had outlasted the toughest field ever in an Open.
In a brilliant and descriptive book, Frost, the only author to tackle pre-World War II golf, describes the similar path the two golfers took to get to that Saturday in Brookline, and the rest of America was bitten with the golf bug that continues to pester American culture today.
Reading the book, I see why Disney greenlighted the movie. Just don’t expect me to see it.
It might be decent, though. There’s no Jimmy Fallon, right?
Sean Price can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.