INCHEON CITY, Korea – A rock star landed at Incheon International Airport on Sunday night, greeted by some 50 members of the Korean media and 10 television cameras shooting his every move.
His name? Jordan Spieth.
The No. 1 player in the world has been living his life on a public stage for some time now, but recently, on the heels of the best year in golf and his well-mannered, easy-going ways punctuated with a bright and frequent smile, the theater that is Jordan Spieth continues to swell.
Three of the Fore Horsemen will be teeing it up in the Presidents Cup. Rory should petition to play for Asia based on his house in Dubai.
MONDAY BOOK REVIEW
The life cycle for your average (reasonably successful) non-fiction book is fairly predictable:
- The book is written (here’s an Amazon link to Ryan’s Slaying the Tiger)
- A release date is announced
- A few tasty tidbits are released, usually via an excerpt in a magazine, to inflame the public’s interest
- Release week arrives, and there is a flurry of publicity, with scores of reviews
- A month later, everyone moves on to the Next Big Thing
- A paperback edition comes out a year later, and there is a second, smaller flurry of activity
Shane Ryan’s excerpt for this book came out earlier than usual, when he was pushed to release the chapter on Patrick Reed because another source was threatening to beat him to the punch. It was a good move by Ryan and generated a lot of attention for his book. When the book was released a few months later, it was highly anticipated and received scores of reviews, including my modest offering.
The review I wrote was subtitled Part 1. Here’s part 2, nearly four months later…
I read the book and wrote my review during the flurry of activity surrounding the book’s release. I gave the book a close reading and made a million notes. At the time, it seemed important. If I spotted a typo, it seemed important and I jotted it down. If I disagreed with a point the author made, I jotted it down. If something struck me as particularly interesting, I wrote it down. I wound up with a sheet of paper covered in tiny type with things like, “p272 x grind to dust.”
I realized at some point that I had misplaced my notes. That didn’t bother me much; in fact, it gave me a handy excuse to continue procrastinating on Part 2. The book fell out of the spotlight, my interest waned, and I found other things to write about.
When I did think about Part 2, I could only remember a couple things I intended to mention: (1) Ryan was confused about the hardwood and softwood trees at Augusta; (2) Ryan related an interesting anecdote about an OCD situation he had as a youngster.
I’ll write about those now, then scan my recently-discovered notes to see if anything in there still seems worthy of discussion.
I couldn’t find a squirrel. Nobody seems to have any explanation for this, besides the questionable theory that squirrels prefer softwood tree and Augusta doesn’t let softwoods like the native sweetgum grow on the grounds.
Okay, I don’t find that theory questionable at all. When growing up, I used to hunt squirrels. We always found squirrels more plentiful among hardwood trees (many of which were nut-bearing) in the mixed/old growth forests than we did in the exclusively pine (pine is softwood) forests (planted by lumber companies as a crop). A reader has commented about this, telling me that in their part of the country, squirrels love the pine forests. I’ve since read that it depends on the type squirrel, but in my part of the world, the squirrels definitely gravitated to the nut-bearing trees. However, be that as it may, I think we can all agree that sweetgum is hardwood, not softwood.
This jumped out at me for a couple of reasons. One, I was familiar with the concept of hardwood and softwood from my boyhood, so I pay attention to such things. The tree comments came in the middle of a section of the book where Ryan bashed Augusta. Another example, among many, of the bashing was when he pointed out — in a negative, accusatory way — that Augusta National sometimes ices azalea bushes during warm springs to keep them from blooming before the tournament arrives. What exactly is so nefarious about that? I bet they also water the greens when it doesn’t rain.
The second thing that stuck with me was a brief mention of the author’s OCD problems as a child. I had a few little rituals as a child, but nothing severe. Just things like, say, bouncing a basketball three times before shooting a free throw. However, I notice as an adult I do have some of the “counting rituals” Ryan mentioned. And some things like checking, say, checking that I locked the front door before going to bed. Sometimes I know I did, but it’s like something forces me to check again. I won’t rest easy until I do so. Well, unless something distracts me, in which case I forget all about it. Still, I definitely could relate to the OCD comments.
I guess you could say making myself write this Part 2 was OCD.
At any rate, as I flipped through the book this morning, looking for the passages I am writing about, I encountered several parts I had largely forgotten and enjoyed reading again. The OCD paragraph was written as a lead-in to Ryan’s interview of a reluctant Keegan Bradley, and that was interesting to revisit. Bradley was one of the guys I would think would kill for more publicity, but he wasn’t much interested in being interviewed, leading to a nice observation from Ryan:
Keegan Bradley taught me an important lesson in 2014, which is that if you have to ask a golfer for an interview more than three times, you’re better off forgetting the whole thing.
Flipping to the Keegan Bradley part of the book, I first encountered a section on Seung Yul Noh, which I got caught up re-reading. Life on Tour can be especially lonely and tough on Korean players.
Re-visiting the book this morning reminds me of why I recommended it in my original review. It’s an interesting, well-written read. I’ve decided to call it a day on Part 2. I’ll weed through my notes and do a Part 3 tomorrow (or tonight) and finally put my multi-part, months-in-the-making review to to bed.