Johnny Miller, Arnold Palmer, and the Miracle at Oakmont
(New American Library, Spring 2010)
In 1973, a who’s who of golf’s greats gathered at Oakmont Country Club — arguably the toughest course in the world — for the U.S. Open. Among those favored to win were Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Instead, Johnny Miller — a 26-year-old, golden maned, one-time teen phenom from San Francisco — astounded everyone by edging out the legends and crafting a record-setting 63 to win by a single stroke.
In Chasing Greatness, Adam Lazarus and Steve Schlossman chronicle the careers and the lives of six extraordinary figures who battled that day during modern golf’s golden era: Miller, Palmer, Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Weiskopf, and the ill-fated journeyman, John Schlee. Each man was chasing greatness on that final, overcast Father’s Day afternoon, but only one summoned the courage to defy both history and the golf gods by shooting the greatest round in American championship golf.
Featuring extensive archival and video research and candid interviews with leading golfers of the era, Chasing Greatness beautifully captures one of the unlikeliest victories and most dramatic sports triumphs of the past half century.
A grand re-telling of a U.S. Open finish like no other...A must read for fans of golf, and for fans of the human spirit.
There’s a reason Johnny Miller never gets tired of reminding us about his final round in the ’73 Open: It was that good. But his staggering 63 in the pressure cooker is only one of the compelling storylines that historian Schlossman and his former student Lazarus- a pretty good story right there- weave together in their meticulously detailed narrative of an Open filled with genuine thrills, dramatic subplots, and, in Oakmont itself, the most feared location in the game.
If you want the most thorough history of a most memorable championship, this is it.
Through extensive research and interviews, they can easily loop the tales together, and the momentum they build en rote is palpable, an achievement, certainly, since the outcome is no secret. In the end it’s the cast of characters themselves- their dramas, comedies, and motives inside the ropes and beyond- that heighten this chase and keep it moving through a series of biographical codas that extend decades past the trophy presentation.