USGA Picks Dodson Book for Award
Golf writer and The Pilot writer-in-residence Jim Dodson is a two-timer in the best sense of the word.
His latest work, "American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and the Modern Age of Golf" has earned him the United States Golf Association's Herbert Warren Wind Book Award for 2012. Dodson previously won the award in 2004 for "Ben Hogan: An American Life."
Dodson is just the second writer in the organization's history to be so recognized on two separate occasions. He was preceded by writer Phil Pilley as the only other two-time winner.
"Snead, Nelson and Hogan set the standard for professional golf for three decades and were instrumental in defining the modern professional game," said Robert Williams, director of the USGA Museum. "James Dodson did a masterful job not only telling the story of these three men, but also bringing an entire era of golf into sharper focus. This book is an impressive accomplishment that will undoubtedly stand the test of time."
The Herbert Warren Wind Book Award was established in 1987. The award "recognizes and honors outstanding contributions to golf literature while attempting to broaden the public's interest in, and knowledge of, the game of golf."
Wind, who died in 2005, was a famed writer for The New Yorker and Sports Illustrated who also coined the phrase "Amen Corner" in reference to the difficulty of certain holes at the Augusta National Golf Club.
Dodson will receive the award April 10 in Augusta, Ga. at the 41st Golf Writers Association of America awards dinner during the week of the Masters Tournament. He called the recognition a "huge" honor.
"The first time I won I was speechless," he said. "I grew up knowing Herb Wind, and he was one of my writing heroes 30 years before I became a golf writer. He had a huge influence on me when I wrote the Ben Hogan book."
Wind's phrase for the three golfers portrayed in the latest book was the inspiration for its title, Dodson said.
"I said to Herb Wind that I was interested in writing a story on the three of them and their effect on golf, and he agreed, calling it an extraordinary story that deserved to be told," Dodson said. "I think of them as our 'American Triumvirate,' he said, and that's how the book got its title."
Dodson called the book "a real labor of love in the purest, best sense," and said he was "deeply gratified" to receive the recognition for a second time.
"Winning the award named after a mentor and friend for the second time is a huge honor for me," he said. "It is an affirmation of the impact of these three men on the game of golf."
Interviews with friends, family and fellow competitors helped Dodson paint a picture of the determined athletes, all born in the same year, 1912. The trio would revitalize the struggling game in Depression-era America.
"This is a story about three extraordinary men, who were very different, but each helped put golf on the front pages of newspapers in America," said Dodson. "Hogan, Nelson and Snead were the founding fathers of the modern game."
Dodson relates how the three golfers dominated the sport from the late 1930s through the 1950s with "a passion, skill and competitiveness" that changed the public perception of golf and brought it into the mainstream of American life.
"I'm not sure that any sport has had three such influential players," he said. "Golf fell on hard times after Bobby Jones' retirement in 1930 and the Great Depression, which forced the closing of one half of the courses and tournaments in the country. The influence of Hogan, Nelson and Snead created the modern game making golfers such as Arnold Palmer possible. They brought it back, which I think is really cool."
Snead won 82 PGA Tour events, which remains the record. Six years after capturing the 1939 U.S. Open, Nelson won 11 consecutive PGA Tour events in 1945. Hogan won four U.S. Opens, including the 1950 championship at Merion Golf Club, site of the 2013 U.S. Open.
In addition to being the writer-in-residence for The Pilot, Dodson also edits three arts and culture magazines published by The Pilot, including PineStraw, Salt and O.Henry. Dodson, who spent two decades as a contributing editor and columnist for Golf Magazine, received the 2011 Donald Ross Award from the American Society of Golf Course Architects.
Dodson has written four other golf-themed books in addition to "American Triumvirate" and "Ben Hogan." They are "Final Rounds," "The Dewsweepers," "A Golfer's Life" and "A Son of the Game."
Dodson said "American Triumvirate" may be his final book on golf, with one exception, a planned "365 stories" for golfers.
"I have in the works a book titled 'Good of the Game,' which provides a year's worth of golf related stories, one per day, that readers may find interesting," he said. "I am looking at it as my final love poem to the game."
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or email@example.com.
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