Bring Me the Head of Sergio Garcia Book Review
I’ll open with a spoiler which, if you’re even mildly acquainted with the world of pro golf, you will already know: Sergio Garcia still has his head. Figuratively he may have misplaced it a few times over the last couple of years (THOSE remarks about Tiger and fried chicken at the 2013 European Tour players’ awards evening, his ongoing vendetta with bunkers, etc.) but as far as the literal dome goes: Sergio Garcia’s head is secure. Author Tom Cox’s however, I’m not so sure… Bring Me the Head of Sergio Garcia (2007), which chronicles the freelance journalist’s attempt to make a living as a professional golfer, ends with Coxy tottering tipsily upon a podium, being pelted by golf balls and looking like he might be about to fall…
Don't Read in a Public Place!
As this illustrative vignette suggests, Bring Me the Head of Sergio Garcia is a funny book. And by funny, I mean seriously very amusing. The publisher’s flap copy – not normally the most potent of guides to a tome – is here unequivocally accurate. I have not read every golf text in existence, but the Metro’s description of it as “One of the funniest books on golf ever written” strikes me as completely fair. The list of places you should be cautious about opening this novel is longer than my arm. But, essentially, any possible situation in which a foghorn-volume laughing hysteria so violent that your gut spontaneously ruptures and your stomach explodes through your nose is unideal is not where you should open this book!
One-Upping Lawrence Donegan
Tom Cox has evidently read Lawrence Donegan’s Four-Iron in the Soul and Bring Me the Head of Sergio Garcia owes a heavy debt to the latter’s earlier smash hit tale of a would-be professional sportsman struggling to carve out a living on tour. Unlike Donegan, however, whose lack of hand-eye coordination forced him into settling for caddying, Cox is actually quite good at golf and is able to one-up him: his sights are set on not carrying another player’s back but having someone – or at least a very expensive electric trolley – shoulder his own. As well as, of course, perfecting “Henrik Stenson’s Boeing 747 ball flight” and Lee Westwood’s “Ready Break glow” (aside from low-scoring, our heroes two most pressing goals).
An Unusual Smelling Golf Bag...
I’m probably not giving away any spoilers when I tell you that this fantasy does not materialise. Cox’s run at playing professional golf is short-lived and fretted by disasters. Although, if you “say [the latter] really quickly” they sound a bit similar, the Tour which Cox lands on is not the European Tour, but the Europro, the former organisation’s less prestigious second cousin (though it’s gained a lot in stature since Cox was on it). And even this defeats him. Dragging a cat-pee-soaked (long story) bag and wielding a florescent purple umbrella emblazoned with the cat-food brand Purina, Cox bombs the qualifying school after playing another player’s ball and then fails to make even a cut in his 12 months on tour.
I don’t want to reveal too many of the book’s many high/low points, but one last, quick sample before I go. Here’s Tom Cox describing a golfer that we all know from our monthly medals: “Roy, on the other hand, will be an all-out mercenary – a quick-walking, quick-talking, born competitor: the kind of guy who shoots 82 off a fourteen handicap and doesn’t just call it a 68, but believes it’s a 68. During my first creaky backswing of the day, he will jangle some change in his pocket and, as my scuzzy, insomniac’s six-iron shot limps toward the front apron of the green, I will see fire in his eyes.” See? I told you he was funny.
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