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"Tournament Week begins on Monday, with the red carpet rolled out for players upon their arrival, some in private jets, a Citation X in Tiger Woods's case. Perks available to players include courtesy cars, luxurious lodgings, entertainment for wives and children, outings away from the course, lavish meals, and parties. Tuesday is the practice round, which often involves gambling among the players to inject interest in an otherwise meaningless round. John Huston once shot 62 at the Augusta National in a Masters tune-up and won ten bets from David Duval. Neighbors Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara bet whenever they practice together at a tournament site, often resulting in Woods reluctantly parting with a few dollars of his vast wealth. Wednesday is the longest day of the pro-am, principally because of the "am" part of the equation, the amateurs with their eyesore swings and misguided shots into the gallery. And then finally it's Thursday and the play begins, building to the final round on Sunday, which is the defining day in professional golf, when the pressure mounts and even chainpions choke.
John Strege covers the manner in which players view their equipment, from the idiosyncratic MarkO'Meara's requirement that his clubs look new to the eccentric Jesper Parnevik's perpetual tinkering. Strege reveals how players intentionally mislead the public into thinking they are using a particular brand of club, one they are paid to endorse, when in fact they are using a competing brand. And there's an entire chapter on what the pros carry in their golf bags. Strege dramatically portrays the life of the alternates, the game's unwitting vultures who are waiting for the opportunity to join the field, and the caddies' milieu, where golf's underappreciated laborers serve the game's spoiled aristocracy. He reports on what the players do to stay in shape and how some of them travel with trainers and sports psychologists with whom they work after a round rather than succumbing to the temptations of the proverbial nineteenth hole.
Filled with entertaining stories and the very wry wit of the players, this is a must read for anyone who loves the game of golf. If you ever wondered what really happens on the PGA Tour, you will be riveted by this rare, behind-the-scenes tour of "Tournament Week.
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