RBC Canadian Open

Oakdale Golf & Country Club

The Loop

John Updike, 1932-2009

January 27, 2009

John Updike was twice a Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction. He was a prolific novelist, poet and short story writer. And he was a golfer, an inveterate one at that.

Updike was a frequent contributor to Golf Digest, some of his essays appearing in his book, "Golf Dreams: Writings on Golf," published in 1996. That volume also contained the golf work for which he is best remembered, "Farrell's Caddie," a short story published by The New Yorker on Feb. 25, 1991.

In 1973, he wrote an essay on golf for the New York Times. It was entitled, simply, Golf. The final paragraph exquisitely explained his love affair with the game:

"Otherwise, though once in a while a 7-iron rips off the clubface with that pleasant tearing sound, as if pulling a zipper in space, and falls toward the hole like a raindrop down a well; or a drive draws sweetly with the bend of the fairway and disappears, still rolling, far beyond the applauding sprinkler, these things happen in spite of me, and not because of me, and in that sense I am free, on the golf course, as nowhere else."

Updike died Tuesday of lung cancer. He was 76.

-- John Strege