Feinstein thrills once again with ‘The First Major’

Jacob Clanton, Print Editor-in-Chief

Golf has never been all that exciting to me. I’ve watched my fair share of Masters and U.S. Opens, but it’s never been a high priority. I just don’t get into it like I do basketball or football.

I did, however, enjoy John Feinstein’s latest book. “The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup” is about golf, but I still loved it. Once I began reading it, I found it hard to put down.

Feinstein starts the book in an odd place: the end. He begins with the American victory in the 2016 Ryder Cup. Sorry if that’s a spoiler, but if you care about the result, I assume you already know it.

After introducing the most recent event, Feinstein launches into the history of the Ryder Cup. To me, this was one of the more interesting parts. I love learning about history, so to learn about the Ryder Cup intrigued me.

The recent history of the Ryder Cup is what triggered the book in the first place. The United States dominated the first 25 Ryder Cups, losing only three times. Since then, the U.S. won just four of the next 15. To the Americans, that was unacceptable and led to a overhaul for 2016. To do this, the Professional Golfers’ Association of America created what was dubbed a “task force.”

The way Feinstein dove into the task force and the issues surrounding it exemplified what I love about his writing style. Not only does he tell the story of the event, but Feinstein goes in-depth on sidebars that add to the emotions the reader feels. The reader understands the life stories of the subjects, so they can better connect to the subjects.

Of course, Feinstein didn’t neglect the entire reason for the book: the Ryder Cup. With the pomp and circumstance that surrounds an event like the Ryder Cup, it takes an impressive writer to fully capture the event.

Here, Feinstein shines. His background as a sports writer for the Washington Post is apparent as he tells the story of the Ryder Cup from all angles. The reader hears from the Americans and the Europeans. At times, it feels like the reader is in the locker room, sitting next to the golfers. The emotions are evident.

Add this one to the list of great Feinstein sports books. I picked this book up because it had his name on it, and I was not disappointed. As a sports fan, it was a great dive into a world that I knew very little about.