“Neil Sagebiel brings the memorable tournament to life…Mr. Sagebiel's narrative is strongest when he reports the hole-to-hole proceedings, which is all the more remarkable since only three minutes of television footage were archived. He teases out drama and puts the reader on the green.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Sagebiel's book gives an excellent account of the matches, as he interviewed nearly every living member of the two teams.”—ESPN Golf
"This is the definitive account of one of golf's great stories of sportsmanship and honor... Sagebiel deserves to stand as a beacon for all aspiring sportswriters.”—Yahoo! Sports Blog
“A Few of Our Favorite Things” Pick, Sports Illustrated Golf+ Digital
“Sagebeil has found his stride again… It is more than a shot-by-shot account. This Ryder Cup was like with a fine Italian sauce, with a little of everything in the mix—drama, controversy and just the right spice of hostility to keep you alert.”—The PGA of America
“Draw In the Dunes recounts the times, the circumstances and perhaps best of all, the background needed for readers to put the 1969 Cup and Nicklaus concession into perspective….Bottom line—if you are interested in golf, the Ryder Cup, its history and its personalities, you will enjoy this book and give it a permanent spot on the shelf.”—New England Golf Monthly
“[An] enjoyably readable piece of sports history from Neil Sagebiel, a nationally prominent golf blogger and author from Floyd who has a reputation for digging up interesting golf stories and telling them as deftly as a PGA pro handles a 9-iron around the green…The details, interviews, research and clear writing make Draw in the Dunes an ace of a read for fans of good golf writing.”—The Roanoke Times
“For a competition that ended in a draw, Sagebiel's book is a winner”—Gold Digest Stix
“Golf journalist Sagebiel capably re-creates the action, leading up to the last-hole concession, which is now regarded both as a quintessential gesture of sportsmanship and as the beginning of the rebirth of the Ryder Cup, which continued with the decision in the eighties to add Continental Europeans to the British team. Moving both backward and forward in time, Sagebiel gives rich context to what happened that day, showing why The Concession, as it is now called, occupies a unique place in golf history.”—Booklist
“Draw in the Dunes is a lively, interesting look at the Ryder Cup, chock full of insight and anecdotes. Sagebiel does a wonderful job balancing play by play with the necessary background and player quotes. ‘I hoped I would capture the essence of the Ryder Cup, Sagebiel said. He did. Point conceded.”—The Tampa Tribune
“An exploration of the personalities involved—from Peter Alliss, Brian Barnes, and Bernard Gallacher on the British side to the Lee Trevino, Ray Floyd, Dave Hill, and captain Sam Snead on the U.S.—and the issues and conflicts both between and within the two teams.”—Links Golf Magazine
“The Floyd author does a good job of explaining the Ryder Cup format and the sport's lingo. Then he builds drama throughout 'Draw' as it heads towards The Concession.”—Play by Play Magazine
“Methodically, but with wonderful attention to detail, Sagebiel recounts each days morning and afternoon session of matches.... Draw in the Dunes captures the 1969 Ryder Cup in vivid detail and is a stirring addition to a growing history of this event.”—Book Reporter
“Neil, who writes a nationally prominent golf blog, takes golf out of the realm of sport and into something more akin to anthropology with his works. The Longest Shot was named one of the best sports books of 2012 and my guess is Neil's new work won't be far behind that.”—Valley Business FRONT
“In Draw in the Dunes, Neil Sagebiel has once again brought a significant moment in golf history to life, combining the results of exhaustive research and extensive interviews with his prodigious storytelling talent to paint a complete and very satisfying portrait of a complex series of events.”—Examiner.com (five star review)
“Sagebiel leads up nicely to the big moments…he then he breaks down the competition at Royal Birkdale session by session, letting the drama of the matches naturally unfold.”—Golf Digest
"I'm really, really enjoying your book, not only for the fact that it chronicles and details what happened in 1969 at that Ryder Cup, but because you provided context and history in essence for ... how we got to there. Very, very well done. I'm very much enjoying the read.”—Matt Adams, host of Fairways of Life on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, during September 18 interview
Praise for The Longest Shot:
**A BN.com Top 100 book and Top 25 Nonfiction book**
**Named one of Booklist's Top 10 Sports Books of 2012**
"Fifty-seven years after the fact (and in time for this years Open at Olympic), two books about one of golfs most improbable upsets have surfaced simultaneously. Like the clash between Hogan and Fleck, the works pit an established, celebrated veteran against a relative upstart. And as in 1955, the upstart wins. But, unlike in 1955, its not close. The Longest Shot is the first book from Neil Sagebiel, the founder and editor of Armchair Golf Blog, and he makes a strong bid to create shelf space for himself alongside 21st-century golf literati like John Feinstein, Mark Frost and Don Van Natta Jr. Sagebiel takes his time, working leisurely as golf demands, but does a thorough job. And his narrative pace during the last hour of that final round, as he bounces back and forth between Hogan in the locker room and Fleck on the course, may have a rhythm more suited to a tennis rally, but here it aces."
—The New York Times Sunday Book Review
“A compelling read…Golf historians can thank Sagebiel.”
"Long before a small circle of American kids dismantled the Soviets Big Red Machine at Lake Placid, Jack Flecks defeat of the mighty Ben Hogan at the 1955 U.S. Open was as stunning and stirring an upset as sports had ever seen. In The Longest Shot, Neil Sagebiel not only expertly reconstructs the million-to-one tale of the Iowa muni pro who denied Hogan his chance to become the only man to win the Open five times, he honors the grand tradition of profound and poetic literature in golf."
—Ian OConnor, New York Times bestselling author of Arnie & Jack: Palmer, Nicklaus, and Golfs Greatest Rivalry
"The Longest Shot is the remarkable story of how Jack Fleck, the improbably named municipal course pro from Iowa, defeated the great Ben Hogan at the 1955 U.S. Open. Moment by moment, Neil Sagebiel lyrically describes the drama of the David-and-Goliath clash at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. Sagebiel persuades a new generation of readers that Flecks triumph was not only the most unlikely result at a U.S. Open, but one of the greatest upsets in American sports history. The Longest Shot is destined to become a classic of golf literature."
—Don Van Natta Jr., New York Times bestselling author of First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers, and Cheaters from Taft to Bush and Wonder Girl: The Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias
"Iowa golfer topples big-time golf legend. Zach Johnson over Tiger Woods at the 2007 Masters? Sure, that was a huge upset. But how does it compare to another Iowa golfer taking down an icon? Jack Fleck had never won on tour, was playing a few hours behind the immortal Ben Hogan—who had already accepted congratulations for winning the 1955 U.S. Open—and had to birdie the 18th hole just to tie the four-time Open champion. Then it was on to an 18-hole playoff the next day in which the unknown Iowa muni pro knocked off his idol by three strokes. In The Longest Shot, Neil Sagebiel details how this remarkable outcome unfolded."
—Bob Harig, senior golf writer, ESPN.com
"Lost in the pages of golf history is a remarkable story of an unknown municipal golf professional who won the 1955 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. Author Neil Sagebiels account of the courage and determination of Jack Fleck, who late on a Saturday afternoon came out of the pack to tie the legendary Ben Hogan, and then go onto defeat him in an 18-hole playoff, is dramatically recounted in The Longest Shot. It is a Cinderella story of a young professional from Iowa who against all odds wins the U.S. Open. It is also the bittersweet account of Ben Hogans last hurrah."
—John Coyne, author of The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan
"The Longest Shot is more than the story of the greatest upset in U.S. Open history. Its a book for anyone whos ever risked everything to follow a dream. Golfers owe Sagebiel a thank you for lending a voice to this oft-forgotten tale."
—Bob Smiley, author of Follow the Roar: Tailing Tiger for All 604 Holes of His Most Spectacular Season
“Upsets are the lifeblood of sports, and golf has provided its share—but arguably none so startling as unheralded Jack Flecks triumph over the legendary Ben Hogan in the 1955 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. In “Dewey Beats Truman” fashion, NBC proclaimed Hogan the winner of his unprecedented fifth U.S. Open while there was still one man on the course, the unknown Iowan Fleck, who had a chance to tie. He did exactly that, with a birdie on the eighteenth hole, and then went on to beat Hogan by three strokes in the next days playoff. Sagebiel wrings every ounce of drama and poignancy out of this remarkable sporting event, backtracking to tell the story of the lanky, teetotaling, socially insecure Flecks improbable rise to success and judiciously reprising Hogans life and career, including the nearfatal car accident and the inspirational comeback that followed it. And, of course, just like in a movie, Fleck idolized Hogan and was the first professional, other than Hogan himself, to use Hogan-designed clubs. But its the on-course drama that golf fans will relish, Fleck, “whose long, fluid golf swing wrapped around his lean body like a loose belt,” besting the man whose steely determination to win that fifth Open made him seem unbeatable. As fellow player Bob Rosburg observed about the outcome, “It defied everything anybody knew about golf.” Great storytelling and great golf history.”
"Neil Sagebiel of Floyd County captures the drama and the ambiance of professional golf in the mid-1950s in a book that will delight golfers but also enhance any readers understanding of American society in post-World War II America. The story of Iowa club pro Jack Flecks rise from obscurity to win the U.S. Open is the essence of the American Dream....Sagebiel brings to life the drama of the tournament and the long road to arrive there. He also re-creates a time when golf was just a sport, and the players enjoyed the game without the money and the fame that accompany modern-day athletes. Reading this book is like reading the golf coverage from a major newspaper in the 1950s when a keen ability to describe the players and their venue was the key to having readers."
"The author's imaginative narrative…gives a fascinating insight into Hogan's character, avoiding death by inches in a 1951 car crash to become one of the game's great icons.”