Arnie and Jack: Palmer, Nicklaus, and
Golf's Greatest Rivalry
Surprisingly, one of sport’s most contentious, complex, and defining clashes played out not in the boxing ring or at the line of scrimmage but on the genteel green fairways of the world’s finest golf courses. Arnie and Jack. Palmer and Nicklaus. Their fifty-year duel, in both the clubhouse and the boardroom, propelled each to the status of American icon and pushed modern golf to the heights and popularity it enjoys today.
Yet for all the ink that has been spilled on these two essential golf figures individually, no one has ever examined their relationship in this way. Arnie was the cowboy, with rugged good looks, Popeye-like forearms, a flailing swing, and charm enough to win fans worldwide. Jack was scientific, precise, conservative, aloof, even fat and awkward. Ultimately, Nicklaus got the better of Palmer on the course, beating him in major victories, 18-7. But Palmer bested Nicklaus almost everywhere else, especially in the hearts of the public and in endorsement dollars -- Palmer was the top-grossing athlete for thirty years, until Michael Jordan surpassed him.
With dogged reporting and crisp, colorful storytelling, the award-winning sports columnist Ian O’Connor explores this heated professional and personal battle in fascinating, intimate, and revelatory detail. Drawing on unique and exclusive access to Palmer and Nicklaus, and informed by some two hundred new interviews, O’Connor illuminates the two men’s extreme differences and sprawling influence through mini-dramas, such as their little-known first meeting on the course at the topsy-turvy U.S. Open in 1962, their early involvement with marketing and a small agency called IMG, and their intense competition for golf-course designs in their later years.
By the end of this page-turning narrative, which spans five remarkable decades, we see that each man wanted what the other had: Arnold had the adoring fans but wanted the trophies. Jack had the trophies but wanted the love.
"Thrillingly dramatic depictions... Comprehensive interviews humanize the two legends while contextualizing their roles in the game's history… Exemplary." — Kirkus Reviews
"Finely written, intricately researched and smartly reported." — YahooSports.com
"Superb...Arresting." — New York Post
"You can't go wrong writing or reading about those two guys, and O'Connor certainly got it right." — Newsday
"Fascinating . . . A nice mix of golf history and interpersonal dynamics." — Booklist, ALA
“A classic work…the most riveting personal moments...[it] is the best thing I’ve read in a long while.” — Edwin Pope
“O’Connor, reporting in rich detail... while lifting golf to the big leagues of American sports.” — Dave Kindred
"A considerable amount of original research... Recommended." —Library Journal
"Refreshing and captivating." — Tampa Tribune
"O’Connor’s chronicle...gives readers a picture-perfect view of how they made the sport what it is today." — John Feinstein
“...THE definitive book on [Arnie and Jack’s] often complicated but honorable relationship.” — Gene Wojciechowski
“O’Connor explains the most complicated of human relationships in the simplest of terms…the fascinating journey…should not be missed.” — Bill Plaschke
"...an exceptional read." — USA Today
"O’Connor's book is great because it reminds you how much fun and how ferocious golf used to be." — Kansas City Star