Honour, A Historical Golf Novel
By: Richard O’Connor
ISBN-13: 978-09836689-1-6,ISBN-10: 0983668914
Publication Date: February 17, 2012
Size: 414 pages
Format: Trade paperback 8.5″ x 5.5″
Available: February 17, 2012, Huntingtonparkpublications.com, and Amazon.com. ($15.00), Kindle: Amazon.com ($9.99)
Honour is the story of close friends George Riley and Johnny Scranton and how their friendship, loyalty, and honor are tested amid the changes in the world of competitive golf in the early 1900’s. From Boston to Chicago and Newport to Pinehurst, George and Johnny encounter some of the greatest players ever to play the game of golf – Walter Hagen, Francis Ouimet, Chick Evans, Fred McCloud, and others.
As the story opens, Johnny and George, along with their mutual friend Francis Ouimet, are among the best schoolboy golfers in Massachusetts. After high school, George decides to play as an amateur while Johnny joins a group of touring professionals. George decides to live his life to a careful plan – the right school, the right job, and the right marriage. Johnny, however, chooses the raucous fun of the pro tour and especially the money offered by promoters and gamblers. His life is dramatically altered early in his career when his hand is badly burned while he rescues a woman in a hotel fire in Chicago. He begins to use a common elixir and descends into a world of morphine and alcohol addiction to address the pain in his hand and the frustration with his declining game.
Meanwhile, a sinister member of the ruling elite, Archibald Sargent, launches a vendetta to rid golf of professional players. He especially targets Johnny Scranton because of his popularity and suspected addictions. Sargent also begins a campaign to “purify” the amateur game and threatens to debar prominent amateurs who do not comply with his personal rules and beliefs.
For three tortuous years, Johnny struggles with his demons. George finally intervenes to help save Johnny from the growing addiction that threatens his life. The story shifts to the bucolic Cape Cod town of Harwichport, Massachusetts, where Johnny retires for his rehabilitation. During this period of introspection, Johnny meets the love of his life. Mary helps him gain the strength to conquer his demons and they begin what seems to be an idyllic life together.
All is good for both men until an incident in a pro-am tournament in 1915 shatters their relationship: playing as his partner, George accuses Johnny of cheating, dishonoring the game, and especially dishonoring their friendship. George refuses to ever again associate with Johnny. Then, in the winter of 1918, a death-bed letter arrives from France which clears Johnny, and George is forced to reflect on his own failings.
The friends are reunited and in the summer of 1919 meet in a golf match to determine the winner of the “Challenge” offered ten years earlier by their friend and mentor, Guy Rockham. The outcome of the exciting game between the two is not determined until the dramatic last hole. More importantly, George and Johnny can again feel the joy of their friendship and of the game they both love.
Richard O’Connor is the author of Francis Ouimet and the 1913 United States Open and Wooden Bat Baseball Leagues in America. He has been a competitive golfer for more than fifty years. He received an undergraduate degree from Boston University, A.B. and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan, Masters of Regional Planning and Cooley Law, J.D. He has served in a variety of Federal, state, and local governmental jobs during the first ten years of his professional career, and for the last twenty years he has been an environmental and domestic trial lawyer in private practice in Maryland. He is the founder and a director of the Silver Spring Thunderbolts, a collegiate summer baseball team. He is a native of Wellesley, Massachusetts and currently resides in Takoma Park, Maryland, with his wife. He has two sons, Patrick and Kevin.
Author’s Web site: www.richardoconnorauthor.com