Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments

Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments

Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments

Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments


The game of golf has been witness to dramatic change since the early 1980s. Technology has relegated polished wooden drivers and wound balls covered with balata to the dustbin of history. The world's great courses have been stretched unfathomable lengths to counter the game's modern champions and the distances they hit the ball. In the end, though, it still comes down to the players.

Jim Moriarty has focused his attention on the glory, sacrifice, success, and despair of these champions. In Playing Through, he captures the essence of this most recent, most transformative chapter in golf's long history. He writes of the last great rivalry: Jack Nicklaus versus Tom Watson; the rise of the European juggernaut with Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo; the Ryder Cup spectacles of 1999 and 2012 and the romance of team golf; the tragic loss of Payne Stewart and Ballesteros, both gone too soon; the emergence of the Australians, South Africans, South Americans, and Pacific Rim players in the Presidents ∪ and the man who ruled golf, Tiger Woods.

Golf may have changed in the last thirty-five years, but Moriarty's words show that no matter how far the ball flies, it still pits players against themselves, the elements, and their opponents to remain the game we all know and love.


In 1982 the Pebble Beach Golf Links on the Monterey Peninsula hosted the U.S. Open Championship and played to 6,815 yards and a par of seventy-two. in 2015, in the second round of the U.S. Open, Chambers Bay Golf Course on Puget Sound played to 7,695 yards and a par of seventy. Perhaps never in the six-hundredplus-year history of golf has the game changed as much as it has in its last thirty or so years. If you need to find a fall guy, blame the computer chip.

No doubt there has been golf instruction since one Scottish shepherd wielded a crook more proficiently than another. From H. B. Farnie’s book in 1857 to Bobby Jones’s newsreels to high-speed photographic sequences and videotape, the golf swing has been as dissected as any single athletic move. Now, launch monitors can tell you everything about the flight of a golf ball except whether the eyes of the person who hit it are blue or brown. in 1982 drivers were polished persimmon, almost works of art. Now, they’re outsized laboratory experiments the size of small pumpkins fashioned out of titanium with a measurable coefficient of restitution—something that . . .

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