124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Mailer on Golf

November 11, 2007

Norman Mailer died yesterday at 84. He wasn't a golfer that I could tell, but he talked and wrote about it, most memorably in a 1971 letter to astronaut http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deke_Slayton in which Mailer complained about moonwalker Alan Shephard's golf shot on the moon.


"That golf ball business was ghastly.... It's such horse---- trying to hit a golf ball in a spacesuit anyway and believe it or not some people might like to be able to think there's a little respect left for the moon..."

More recently, Mailer wrote in the New York Review of Books that golf was one of the last bastions of the White Male who had...

...been taking a daily drubbing over the last thirty years. For better or worse, the women's movement has had its breakthrough successes and the old, easy white male ego has withered in the glare...We white men were now left with half of tennis (at least its male half), and might also point to ice hockey, skiing, soccer, golf (with the notable exception of the Tiger), as well as lacrosse, track, swimming, and the World Wrestling Federation-remnants of a once great and glorious white athletic centrality.

Not quite the body of work he produced on Nixon or sex, but golf was a small part of the America that, as the Times' Michiko Kakutani, put it, Mailer made his subject.

--Bob Carney

(Photo: www.ctv.ca)