Magazine article The New Yorker

HERBERT WARREN WIND; POSTSCRIPT Series: 4/5

Magazine article The New Yorker

HERBERT WARREN WIND; POSTSCRIPT Series: 4/5

Article excerpt

George Plimpton's theory of sportswriting was the smaller the ball, the better the literature. And while Plimpton never provided any historical evidence of a bard of marbles, he was probably right. Herbert Warren Wind, who wrote (mainly) about golf for this magazine, beginning in 1947, and who died last week, at the age of eighty-eight, often said that Charles Darwin's grandson--Bernard Darwin, of the London Times and Country Life--was the greatest of all golf writers. One could easily find a place in the clubhouse as well for P. G. Wodehouse, John Updike, Michael Murphy, and Dan Jenkins, but Wind himself was surely the most devoted American on the course, and the most elegant. His writing on the game, and on tennis and other sports, too (he wrote a particularly strange and wonderful disquisition on the history of football placekicking), was always spare, measured, and sure, like the man.

Wind was equally acute on the complexities of the game and on the characters of the players. He was, in spirit, prelapsarian, uninterested in the issues of money, endorsements, or scandal of any kind. If he had a hero in golf, and even in life, it was certainly Bobby Jones, who won thirteen major championships as an amateur between 1923 and 1930 and then went on to help design the ne plus ultra of American courses, Augusta National, the site of the Masters. …

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