American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and the Modern Age of Golf, written by James Dodson, has earned the United States Golf Association’s Herbert Warren Wind Book Award for 2012. Dodson previously won the award in 2004 for Ben Hogan: An American Life.
“Snead, Nelson and Hogan set the standard for professional golf for three decades and were instrumental in defining the modern professional game,” said Robert Williams, director of the USGA Museum. “James Dodson did a masterful job not only telling the story of these three men, but also bringing an entire era of golf into sharper focus. This book is an impressive accomplishment that will undoubtedly stand the test of time.”
American Triumvirate brings to life the colorful personalities and compelling stories of three of golf’s all-time greats: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan. Interviews with friends, family and fellow competitors helped Dodson paint a picture of determined athletes, all remarkably born in the same year, 1912, who would revitalize a struggling game in Depression-era America.
Through Dodson’s expert storytelling, the reader experiences the dominance of Snead, Nelson and Hogan from the late 1930s through the 1950s. The passion, skill and competitiveness displayed by these giants of the game helped to forever change the public perception of golf and to plant it firmly in the mainstream of American life.
“This is a story about three extraordinary men, who were very different, but each helped put golf on the front pages of newspapers in America,” said Dodson. “Hogan, Nelson and Snead were the founding fathers of the modern game.”
Snead won 82 PGA Tour events, which remains the record. Six years after capturing the 1939 U.S. Open, Nelson won 11 consecutive PGA Tour events in 1945. And Hogan won four U.S. Opens, including the 1950 championship at Merion Golf Club, site of the 2013 U.S. Open.
Writer-in-residence for The Pilot newspaper in Southern Pines, N.C., Dodson also edits three arts and culture magazines published by The Pilot: PineStraw, Salt and O.Henry. Dodson, who spent two decades as a contributing editor and columnist for Golf Magazine, received the 2011 Donald Ross Award from the American Society of Golf Course Architects.
“This book was a real labor of love in the purest, best sense,” said Dodson. “Winning an award named after a mentor and friend is a huge honor for me. Mr. Wind gave me the inspiration to write the book, and called them an ‘American triumvirate.’”
The Herbert Warren Wind Book Award was established in 1987. The award recognizes and honors outstanding contributions to golf literature while attempting to broaden the public’s interest in, and knowledge of, the game of golf. Wind, who died in 2005, was the famed writer for The New Yorker and Sports Illustrated who coined the phrase “Amen Corner” at Augusta National. He is the only writer to win the USGA’s Bob Jones Award, the Association’s highest honor.
Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf