Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer are two of the greatest golfers in history. In fact, it's fair to say that between them - with some help from Gary Player - they created the game as we know it. Their rise inspired and coincided with golf's huge explosion - in participation, in TV coverage, and in commercial terms. This dual biography tells the story of two men who at times loathed, resented, but in the end came to respect each other, and the way they changed an entire sport.
Palmer, ten years Nicklaus's senior, was an all-American hero. Blue-collar, charming, loved by fans, at the end of the 1950s it looked as though the King would dominate golf for the rest of his career. Then along came Nicklaus. Nicklaus was a shambling, middle-class fat kid who dared to take on and beat America's favourite star. And in the end Nicklaus would prove by far the more successful of the two. (On the course, that is.). Arnie was brilliant - he won seven major titles - but Jack was out of this world. His record of eighteen majors still stands.
But this is a morality story too. Each man wanted what the other had - what he himself could not have. Arnie was loved by everyone, and with the help of newly created sports marketing agency IMG he became immensely wealthy. For the best part of three decades, he was the highest-earning sportsman in the world. But he wanted Jack's titles. Jack may have had all the glory on the course, but for all that the sport never quite took him to its heart, and through a series of business disasters, he never accumulated anything like Arnie's riches. In the end, neither could be satisfied.
Ian O'Connor brilliantly brings to life the story of two men, their rivalry and a whole sport, in a gripping, no-holds-barred account of one of sport's most fascinating pairings.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 09 / 2008