The Ryder Cup is much like golf’s version of the Olympics. It’s about as close as we come to a worldwide competition (until the sport makes its Olympic debut in 2016 in Rio, of course). And because it’s only played every two years, that makes it that much more special.
For the 2014 event, the Ryder Cup is coming home to where it effectively began, and first-time author Ed Hodge captures the history and rich tradition of duels past and present in his well-crafted book, Jewel in the Glen: Gleneagles, Golf & the Ryder Cup.
Hodge does a great job detailing that first fateful “USA vs. Great Britain” match in 1921 at Gleneagles in Scotland. The events surrounding it sparked a rivalry for the ages. He splendidly weaves the historical footings of the Ryder Cup’s past with the modern day, relying on the commentary of golf’s biggest luminaries. A varied array of celebrities on both sides—including Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Sandy Lyle, Paul McGinley, and even tennis ace Andy Murray and auto-racing legend Jackie Stewart—share their thoughts on the Ryder Cup.
Colin Montgomerie—whose Ryder Cup heroism may well have overshadowed the rest of his golfing career— provides a sharp hole-by-hole analysis of the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles, where this year’s Ryder Cup will be played. Elsewhere, the legendary Jack Nicklaus—a man probably better known for his day job, but who did design the Gleneagles’ Centenary course—pens them foreword.
In the pages of his book, Hodge’s writing goes beyond golf, examining the impact that the Ryder Cup will have on the local community, not to mention the Scottish psyche, culture and economy. He draws from firsthand knowledge, having grown up near Gleneagles, where he used to caddy and work at the resort. As a former sportswriter who’s now a media executive working for the Scottish Golf Union, Hodge combines a local’s love of his homeland with a much bigger appreciation for what the Ryder Cup means to the global game—past and present.
Jewel in the Glen ought to be required reading for anyone who plans to travel to Scotland for the Ryder Cup. Even if you plan on watching it from afar this September, you’ll feel like you’ve already been there.