Michael Bamberger is a good listener, and he's a careful craftsman, as well. Whereas Annika Sorenstam's participation in the Colonial, a tournament on the men's tour, provoked in most observers predictable and witless outrage or equally predictable and foolish huzzahs, Bamberger wrote of the 2003 event that Sorenstam "played her way into our imaginations."
It was a perceptive contention. By entering the tournament, and by playing almost well enough to make the cut, and by talking about the event as a personal challenge rather than as a political act, Annika Sorenstam invited us to think about various things in a different way, and golf was only the first of those things.
How many witnesses listened to Sorenstam as carefully as Michael Bamberger had? How many of them heard what she had to say?
This is not to suggest that "This Golfing Life" is about nothing but headliners and newsworthy moments in golf, because it isn't. Bamberger is a golfer and a former caddy as well as a chronicler of such worthies as Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, and Tiger Woods. He knows the "creak" of the leather bag strap on the tired shoulder on the fellow ambling off the 18th tee, and the crush of the crowd bent on catching a glimpse of the man on the top of the leader board as he strides by, head down, pretending they don't exist. In a culture where most fans of golf get word of the game from slick commentators on t.v., Bamberger is a worthy messenger from the game's daily grind and a story-teller canny enough to see that the most intriguing characters aren't necessarily the guys in the running for seven figure purses.
"This Golfing Life" includes the best of Bamberger's golf writing over the past twenty years. I hope he keeps at it for at least another twenty.
This program aired on January 6, 2006. The audio for this program is not available.