Arnie & Jack, by Ian O'Connor

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The Independent Culture

Walter Hagen was reputedly golf's first millionaire but, with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, the era of the big-business player truly arrived. This account of the rivalry between the two most successful golfers of their era suggests that their relationship was soured by mutual envy.

Palmer, the handsome hero from a blue-collar background, coveted his younger rival's major victories, a final tally of 18 compared to his seven; Nicklaus, the podgy, privileged prodigy, resented Palmer's vastly superior popularity and financial success. Fat Jack versus The King – their nicknames said it all.

"He wanted what I had, I wanted what he had," Nicklaus admitted to the author. It is an absorbing yarn whose premise seems valid, though throughout Ian O'Connor seems faintly surprised that the two couldn't be bosom buddies, despite competing fiercely in a highly individual sport. Some things don't change: 'Tiger & Phil: The Best of Pals' is unlikely to be written any time soon.

Published by Yellow Jersey in hardback, £17.99

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