'Triumvirate' Honored on NYT Best List for 2012
One hundred years after their births and years after their deaths, iconic golfers Sam Snead, Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan are still achieving great things.
A book about the three, “American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and the Modern Age of Golf,” written by Jim Dodson, Pilot Sunday essayist and editor of PineStraw and O.Henry magazines, has landed on The New York Times list of 100 Notable Books of 2012.
The list includes works of fiction, poetry and nonfiction as selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.
The list rarely includes sports books.
“This is a nice surprise,” Dodson said of the selection. “Especially since it’s the only sports book on the list.”
David Woronoff, publisher of The Pilot, called the honor “well deserved” for Dodson and for the community.
The book tells the tale of how the three golf legends, born three months apart in 1912, singularly and collectively dominated the sport and re-energized the public’s interest in the game.
Between 1935 and 1953, the three men won 60 percent of the golf tournaments played. They dominated when golf was less about sponsorships and big-dollar winnings and more about rivalries and eking out a meager living.
“The author evokes an era when the game was more vivid and less corporate than it seems now,” reads the synopsis of the book on The Times’ list.
Dodson said the three men were the first to “electrify” crowds and bring the game to prominence.
“This book meant a lot to me personally,” Dodson said, “because the three of them (Hogan, Nelson and Snead) not only saved golf from irrelevancy, but they elevated the game and paved the way for Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and the rest of the game’s greats.”
He added, “The bottom line, this book was a real labor of love.”
Reflecting on the book, Dodson said it may be one of his last that focuses on professional golfers.
“I increasingly feel like I don’t have a lot of golf books in me,” Dodson said, “because I am more disconnected from the game and the players. You might think of this book as my farewell to writing about Tour players.”
Dodson said he has plenty of ideas for his next book, including getting back to writing about golf’s “every man.”
“I am thinking about a book of golf miscellanea, stories about the humor of the game,” he said.
Dodson’s major works include “Final Rounds,” “Beautiful Madness” and “A Son of the Game.” His memoir “Faithful Travelers” became the TV movie “Dodson’s Journey” in 2001.
He is also an award-winning author and writer who has served as senior writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday Magazine and Yankee Magazine. He previously wrote “The Golf Life” column for Golf magazine.
His work has appeared in more than 50 publications worldwide, and he has won more than a dozen awards from the Golf Writers Association of America.
Among his most recent honors are receiving the Order of the Long Leaf Pine (2012), which is awarded to those who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state; and the Donald Ross Award (2011), presented by the American Society of Golf Course Architects to an individual who has made a positive contribution to golf and golf course architecture.
“American Triumvirate” was also the subject of an hourlong documentary that aired earlier this year on The Golf Channel.
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or email@example.com.
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