My new book, DRAW IN THE DUNES: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish That Shocked the World, will publish on September 9, 2014, from Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin's Press. It includes a foreword by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin.
My first book, THE LONGEST SHOT: Jack Fleck, Ben Hogan, and Pro Golf's Greatest Upset at the 1955 U.S. Open, published in 2012, also from Thomas Dunne Books.
THE LONGEST SHOT was named one of the Top 10 Sports Books of 2012 by Booklist, the literary review publication of the American Library Association. It was also a BN.com (Barnes & Noble) Top 100 book and Top 25 Nonfiction book.
"Neil Sagebiel...makes a strong bid to create shelf space for himself alongside John Feinstein, Mark Frost and Don Van Natta Jr." —The New York Times Sunday Book Review
DRAW IN THE DUNES
In 1969, the 42-year history of biennial golf matches between the United States and Great Britain reached its climax. The U.S., led by Jack Nicklaus, had dominated competitive golf for years; Great Britain, led by Tony Jacklin, was the undisputed underdog. But in spite of having lost 14 of 17 Ryder Cups in the past, the British entered the 1969 Ryder Cup as determined as the Americans were dominant. What followed was the most compelling, controversial, and contentious Ryder Cup the sport had ever seen.
With the overlooked Jack Fleck still playing the course, NBC-TV proclaimed that the legendary Ben Hogan had won his record fifth U.S. Open and signed off from San Francisco. Undaunted, the forgotten Iowan rallied to overcome a nine-shot deficit over the last three rounds—still a U.S. Open record—and made a pressure-packed putt to tie Hogan on the final hole of regulation play. The two men then squared off in a tense 18-hole playoff from which Fleck emerged victorious in one of the most startling upsets in sports history.
Read an excerpt of THE LONGEST SHOT:
Exclusive to Golf.Com/Sports Illustrated
Chapter 1: Muni Pro
The New York Times:
"THE LONGEST SHOT is the first book from Neil Sagebiel, the founder and editor of Armchair Golf Blog, and he makes a strong bid to create shelf space for himself alongside 21st-century golf literati like John Feinstein, Mark Frost and Don Van Natta Jr. Sagebiel takes his time, working leisurely as golf demands, but does a thorough job. And his narrative pace during the last hour of that final round, as he bounces back and forth between Hogan in the locker room and Fleck on the course, may have a rhythm more suited to a tennis rally, but here it aces."
—The New York Times Sunday Book Review
Booklist starred review:
"Upsets are the lifeblood of sports, and golf has provided its share—but arguably none so startling as unheralded Jack Fleck’s triumph over the legendary Ben Hogan in the 1955 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. In “Dewey Beats Truman” fashion, NBC proclaimed Hogan the winner of his unprecedented fifth U.S. Open while there was still one man on the course, the unknown Iowan Fleck, who had a chance to tie. He did exactly that, with a birdie on the eighteenth hole, and then went on to beat Hogan by three strokes in the next day’s playoff. Sagebiel wrings every ounce of drama and poignancy out of this remarkable sporting event, backtracking to tell the story of the lanky, teetotaling, socially insecure Fleck’s improbable rise to success and judiciously reprising Hogan’s life and career, including the nearfatal car accident and the inspirational comeback that followed it. And, of course, just like in a movie, Fleck idolized Hogan and was the first professional, other than Hogan himself, to use Hogan-designed clubs. But it’s the on-course drama that golf fans will relish, Fleck, “whose long, fluid golf swing wrapped around his lean body like a loose belt,” besting the man whose steely determination to win that fifth Open made him seem unbeatable. As fellow player Bob Rosburg observed about the outcome, “It defied everything anybody knew about golf.” Great storytelling and great golf history."
"A compelling read .... Golf historians can thank Sagebiel."
— PGA Magazine
The Story Behind THE LONGEST SHOT
Reliving Jack Fleck, Ben Hogan and the 1955 U.S. Open
My First Encounter With Jack Fleck in Savannah
Uncovering Jack Fleck and Upset for the Ages
Why I Wrote a Book About Jack Fleck, Ben Hogan and the 1955 U.S. Open
Arnold Palmer Interview
Bob Rosburg Interview
Tommy Bolt Interview