Synopses & Reviews
THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED is the story of Francis Ouimet and Harry Vardon, who in pursuit of their passion for a game that captivated them as children, broke down rigid social barriers that made their sport accessible to everyone on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond, positioning golf as one of the most widely played games in the world. Ouimet and Vardon were two men from different generations and vastly different corners of the world whose lives, unbeknownst to them at the time, bore remarkable similarities, setting them on parallel paths that led with a kind of fated inevitability to their epic battle at Brookline years in the future. This collision resulted in the big bang' that gave rise to the sport of golf as we know it today.
For Mark Frost, Francis Ouimet and Harry Vardon represent everything that's right about sports in general and sportsmen in particular; gentlemen, champions, teachers, leaders, and each in their own quiet way, heroes. In THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED, Frost attempts to create penetrating studies of both of these men, along with over dozens of the game's seminal figures, within the dramatic framework offered by the tournament when they finally met, one of the most thrilling sports events in history, the 1913 U.S. Open.
"This first non-fiction effort by Frost, who is a novelist (The List of 7), television producer ("Twin Peaks") and scriptwriter ("Hill Street Blues"), deftly tells the story behind the legendary 1913 U.S. Open, in which Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old golf amateur from Massachusetts, shocked the genteel golf world by defeating British champion Harry Vardon, the most famous pro golfer of his time and the inventor of what today is still considered the modern grip and swing. Frost knows he has a good story and manages to touch on all the right elements of the plot: Ouimet and Vardon not only represent two different social worlds and two different generations, but also share a number of key personal facts and traits. Ouimet was 'the boy-next-door amateur, young and modest and free from affectation,' while Vardon was the consummate professional whose record of six British Open victories has never been matched. Yet Frost superbly shows how both shared a steely drive to succeed that helped Vardon overcome a long bout with tuberculosis and Ouimet to overcome a working-class background in which golf was seen (especially by his father) as a wealthy man's game, the perfect example of the evils of capitalism. Frost beautifully weaves history into his narrative, clearly showing the long-term impact this duel had on the game and how it helped propel the U.S. Open into the arena of world-class golf. Frost's final chapters on the last two rounds of the 1913 Open have all the page-turning excitement of a blockbuster novel." Publisher's Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The shot-by-shot account of the 18-hole playoff captures the excitement of the day with its appreciation of the subtle shifts of the game and of the beauty of the Country Club....Captivating entertainment" Kirkus Reviews
Classic, Highly Inspirational Story: Between murder trials, paternity suits, drug busts and steroid scandals, the front page of the sports section often seems indistinguishable from a police blotter. Today's star athletes have moved beyond a meaningful sense of connection to the people who admire them. The Greatest Game Ever Played is a return to the nearly forgotten era when sportsmanship wasn't just a buzz word, while simultaneously telling the story of the birth of the modern game. Greatestgameeverplayed.com is a terrific website filled with actual course details, historical images, chapters that were cut from the book, updates on the film coming from Touchstone, contests, trivia tests and more.
Now in paperback, the winner of the U.S. Golfing Association's Best Golf Book of the Year
In 1913, golf's first superstar went up against a green 20-year-old amateur. It was the birth of modern golf. Harry Vardon and Francis Ouimet came from different worlds and different generations, but their passion for golf set them on parallel paths that would collide in the most spectacular match the sport has ever known. Vardon had escaped a life of poverty in Britain to achieve universal recognition as the greatest champion in the game's history. Ouimet, a virtual unknown from Massachusetts, was only three years removed from his youthful career as a lowly caddie and worshiped Vardon. When these unlikely opponents finally came together in their legendary battle at the 1913 U.S. Open, the world's reaction to its remarkable drama and heart-stopping climax gave rise to the sport of golf as we know it today.
Weaving together the stories of Vardon and Ouimet to create his narrative, Mark Frost has crafted a uniquely involving, intimate epic: equal parts sports biography, sweeping social history, and emotional human drama.
About the Author
Mark Frost is the author of the bestselling novels The List of 7, The 6 Messiahs, and Before I Wake. He received a Writer's Guild Award and an Emmy nomination for his work as executive story editor on the acclaimed television series "Hill Street Blues" and was the co-creator and executive producer of the ABC television series "Twin Peaks." He lives in Los Angeles and upstate New York.