Golf is one of my passions. I simply enjoy the game and the challenge that it presents. It is a sport in which even professionals have been known to make all kinds of mistakes like missing a 1-foot putt and losing a national tournament. Others have choked on the final hole of a tournament and managed to blow a substantial, seemingly unbeatable lead.
The game is filled with all kinds of mystery, history, fantasy, grace, skill and even plain stupidity. What makes the game so great is that it is entirely up to individuals to prove to themselves that they can to some degree master the basics of hitting a little white ball in the direction of a small hole marked by a flag. The goal: Get the ball into the hole with the fewest strokes possible. And if you can do this with fewer strokes than your opponent, the game becomes even more enjoyable.
Some players take golf very seriously. Others are absolutely carefree about the whole process. I'm not one of those people. I love the game because it challenges me and if I don't do well I only have one person to blame-me. The ability to discipline oneself both mentally and physically so that one can hit the little white ball fairly consistently makes for an interesting few hours on a golf course. To an outsider, it probably sounds bizarre, but that's the game and there are those of us who golf three or four times a week to the exclusion of a lot of other things like mowing the lawn, painting the house or taking care of the kids.
I bring this up because there is a new book out, Drawn to Golf, that compiles some of the finest cartoons that have appeared in Golfweek over the past few years. They have been drawn by one of the most talented young cartoonists in the business today, Roger Schillerstrom. He was first hired as an editorial cartoonist for Crain's Chicago Business, a sister publication of Modern Healthcare, and eventually became the first full-time cartoonist on the staff of Crain Communications. Roger is this magazine's cartoonist and we are lucky to run his work every week.
Editorial cartoonists aren't what you would call run-of-the-mill types. They are thinkers and when they draw a cartoon often the message they are delivering can make a point that isn't necessarily politically correct. They tell it like it is with a little vinegar and spice thrown in, and sometimes people are miffed by the way they are portrayed or how the subject matter is offered. So being an editorial cartoonist doesn't always make you the most popular person in the room, but it offers a wonderful opportunity to make a point about something that takes drawing skills and brains. In his book, Roger does just that.
There are a host of cartoons about Tiger Woods and his entry into the professional golfing ranks in 1996. Roger cleverly refers to Tiger's temper, showing a mother putting her hands over her child's ears. The father is shown saying, "Wow! Tiger's game has such control!!!" While the mother replies, "Now, if he could just do the same for his tongue ... ."
There's coverage of women golf stars like 1996 rookie Karrie Webb, who was the first woman to win more than $1 million in a season. There's a cartoon about Juli Inkster being inducted into the Ladies Professional Golf Association Hall of Fame. Roger documents Annika Sorenstam's rise to fame, as she managed to earn $2 million on the LPGA tour. In 2003, she made history by accepting an invitation to play in the PGA Tour's Bank of America Colonial golf tournament. She missed the cut but won over the media. The coverage of her involvement was extensive and Schillerstrom comments on these events with his usual humor and insight.
Roger also pays tribute to some of the greats of the game who have passed on. One of the most poignant is the cartoon showing Payne Stewart's wife and children looking off in the distance at the moon. Stewart died in a 1999 plane crash.
And Schillerstrom offers a wonderful tribute to "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz after his death in 2000. The cartoon begins showing Snoopy hitting a golf ball and saying, "The world-famous golf pro will know to keep his head down ... " followed by "Play it where it lies ..." with Snoopy looking forlornly at some bushes where his ball is apparently buried. Snoopy then looks at a golf bag with Schulz's name written on it. Then there's a picture of Snoopy hugging the bag and a caption that reads, "And will always remember his caddie!" Schulz being the caddie, creating Snoopy and making him one of the most popular cartoon characters of all time.
Finally, there's a tribute to Samuel Jackson Snead that shows his hat on a hook with his name and the dates of his birth and death on a black background. It is a memorable tribute to one of the greats in golf history.
If you love to watch or play golf, Schillerstrom's book captures most of the sport's defining moments of the past few years in clever and provocative ways.
Sometimes everything seems to move so fast we fail to remember those moments in history recent or otherwise that filled the TV screen or the front pages of newspapers. They are moments we claim we will always remember, but before we know it they are gone just like yesterday's newspaper. Schillerstrom's Drawn to Golf brings back golfing memories of the last few years that so many of us enjoyed. I give his book an A-plus and recommend it as a fun read.
See the ball,
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