Tom’s Book Review: The First Major

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, November 4th, 2017

ryder cup

John Feinstein’s latest book The First Major: The Inside Story
of the 2016 Ryder Cup chronicles the bitterly-fought 2016 Ryder Cup
pitting a U.S. team out for revenge against the Europeans determined
to keep the Cup out of American hands. It turns out that the New York
Times #1 bestselling author was first inspired to write his newest
book back in 1993 after getting an up close and personal view of the
Ryder Cup held at the Belfry in England.
Feinstein was at the Belfry watching the matches and doing
research for his top selling book A Good Walk Spoiled. He watched in
amazement as world class golfers were caught in the grasps of
nauseating nerves and feeling physically ill as they battled for the
coveted Ryder Cup. This event turned out to be an eye opening
experience for the renowned author laying the groundwork for his
current release.
Prior to coming into 2016, the American team had lost an
astounding six out of the previous seven Ryder Cup matches. Tensions
were running sky-high for the showdown that took place in Hazeltine,
Minnesota, in October last year- just a few days after American golf
legend Arnold Palmer died. What resulted was one of the most raucous,
heated, and memorable three days in the Cup’s long history.
Early on in the book I enjoyed the part where Feinstein captured
how an on the air debate raged between two Golf Channel commentators
just days before the competition was to begin. David Duval who
competed on two Ryder Cups teams got into heated argument with Brandel
Chamblee a one-time former winner on the PGA Tour. The question that
ignited the firestorm was Who’s to blame for the U.S.’s past failures
in the Ryder Cup? And was it lack of leadership? The two argued
vehemently for almost ten minutes and their anger was genuine.
Afterwards Captain Davis Love invited Duval to come to the teams hotel
room telling him that all the players were watching the segment on TV
and they were fired up about it. When Duval who sided with the players
walked into the room where the U.S. team was waiting the room exploded
with cheers. Duval was one of them as a former Ryder Cupper. He
explained to the packed room that you have to experience the Ryder Cup
as a player to understand what it really means. You can’t explain the
Ryder Cup with statistics. The players loved this because they knew
Duval knew what he was talking about.
Author Feinstein does a masterful job chronicling the event
taking the reader behind the scenes, providing an inside view of the
dramatic stories as they unfolded.
As a golf professional this book resonated with me on many
levels. Feinstein is terrific at transporting the reader right to the
forefront of the action giving them a front row seat to the show.
There are so many great storylines in the book. However, I found
the singles match between Rory Mcilroy and Patrick Reed to be one of
the most entertaining and compelling as the two combatants not only
played some spectacular golf, but it appeared at any moment they would
come to physical blows. Feinstein did a great job re-creating those
raucous moments.
I highly recommend this book and if you’re a fan of Feinstein’s
it’s a must have for your collection. Also, this book would make the
ideal gift for the golfer in your family with the impending holidays
coming up.
The hardcover book is 320 pages published by Doubleday with some
beautiful color photos capturing the drama and excitement of the
tournament. The book is also available in kindle, paperback and audio
book to purchase at
John Feinstein is the author of 35 books, including two #1 New
York Times Bestsellers: “A Season on the Brink” and “A Good Walk
Spoiled.” He is also the author of 10 kids mysteries. His first young
adult mystery, “Last Shot,” won the Edgar Allen Poe Award. John also
works for The Washington Post, The Golf Channel, Sirius XM Radio and
Comcast Sportsnet. He is a much sought after corporate and events
speaker. To learn more about him and his career visit his website at
Tom Ward can be contacted at

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