It was the year that the sport and its vivid personalities exploded on the consciousness of the nation, when the past, present, and future of the sport collided. Here was Arnold Palmer, the workingman’s hero, “sweating, chain-smoking, shirt-tail flying”; Ben Hogan, the greatest player of the fifties, a perfectionist battling twin demons of age and nerves; and, making his big-time debut, a crew-cut college kid who seemed to have the makings of a champion: twenty-year-old Jack Nicklaus.
And of course, the rest: Ken Venturi, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Doug Sanders, Gary Player, and the many other colorful characters who chased around a little white ball—and a dream.
Would Palmer win the mythical Grand Slam of golf? Could Hogan win one more major tournament? Was Nicklaus the real thing? Even more than an intimate portrait of these men and their exciting times, The Eternal Summer is also an entertaining, perceptive, and hypnotically readable exploration of professional golf in America.