The Swinger

The Swinger

by Michael Bamberger, Alan Shipnuck

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

A sports hero seeks a comeback in this wildly funny and ultimately redemptive novel.

His name, as we all know, is Herbert X. “Tree” Tremont, and he’s the richest and most celebrated athlete of our time—a multicultural golfing icon with fifty-three Tour wins, thirteen major victories, a smoking hot wife, and two adorable kids. But when a reporter uncovers evidence that Tree’s sexual appetites are as prodigious as his tee shots, his public and private lives collide, producing the juiciest scandal in sports history. In this wickedly funny novel that takes readers between the ropes and the sheets of the PGA Tour as never before, the only thing more entertaining than Tree’s downfall is his quest for redemption.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451657562
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 04/03/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 772,880
Product dimensions: 5.68(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Michael Bamberger, a writer and columnist for GOLF Magazine, spent twenty-two years as a writer at Sports Illustrated after thirteen years as a newspaper reporter. He has written a play (Bart & Fay) and seven books, including the New York Times bestseller Men in Green, To the Linksland, and Wonderland. His work has appeared in the annual anthology The Best American Sports Writing and other collections.

Alan Shipnuck wrote his first Sports Illustrated cover story in 1994, as a 21-year-old intern. Upon graduating from UCLA in 1996, he became one of the youngest staff writers in the magazine's history. Now a senior writer, Shipnuck writes regularly on golf. He is the author, with Christina Kim, of Swinging from My Heels: Confessions of an LPGA Star, as well as The Battle for Augusta National and Bud, Sweat & Tees, a national best-seller.

Read an Excerpt

The Swinger


  • I took my bills to work, stuffed into the big pocket of my Target backpack with the crappy refurbished Toshiba laptop that the paper gave me five years ago. For the longest time, I’d still find eyelashes in the keyboard from the guy who had the computer, and the golf beat, before me.

    “Joshuamon, what brings you to the paragraph factory?” Pete, the sports editor, asked me.

    It was late December. The new golf season was still weeks away. The high school football season was over. I wasn’t on the copy desk rotation. My paycheck—$1,362.50 biweekly, after all the deductions—was on automatic deposit. There was no reason for me to come in, no good reason.

    “My kid needs mold samples for a science project,” I said to Pete.

    The truth was that I had to make some calls that I couldn’t do on my cell phone from my usual office, the crowded Starbucks on First Street in downtown St. Petersburg. I had to call the mortgage company about refinancing, I had to call Visa and American Express to figure out some kind of payment plan, I had to call my ex-wife and ask for more time on our son’s tuition at his summer lacrosse camp, and I had to make sure my girlfriend, Lily, didn’t get wind of any of this. I needed multiple phone lines and a soupçon of privacy. Ten in the morning on a Saturday in winter, there shouldn’t be anybody in the sports department of The St. Petersburg Review-American. But there was Pete, wearing his short-sleeved plaid shirt and plaid pants without a hint of irony.

    I worked my way into a corner. I swept a week’s worth of old papers into a big blue recycling bin. There was something comforting about being at the paper. We were dying a little death every day, but there was still an undercurrent of macho arrogance in the place, like We might not be relevant now, but you should have seen us back in the day.

    I got out my Visa card and squinted at the 800 number. I had tried on some 1.0 reading glasses at CVS, but I’d left them on the rack, not ready to make another concession to middle age. Pete came ambling over. “I heard something that might interest you,” he said.

    I knew the various preambles of Peter Henry Hough down cold, and this was one of his favorites. Pete loved everything about the reporting game, and the editor-as-tipster was near the top. Pete loved news. If you had news, he wanted it. In the paper, on RevAm.com, on our blogs, in our Tweets, he didn’t care, as long as we had it first and had it right. A few days earlier he had taken great delight in a little item I had posted about a local high school baseball coach who got ticketed and breathalyzed for doing 62 in a 25. The coach called and read Pete the riot act. That made Pete’s day.

    “I heard Tree’s been stepping out,” he said.

    Pete, drawling Southerner, milked this most unlikely of sentences, dripping Spanish moss on the whole thing.

    Tree. What everybody called Herbert X. Tremont, Jr., the damnedest golfer who ever lived. Tree’s father was a black Creole from rural Louisiana who spent twenty years in the army; he had a master’s in political science from Howard and a jazz collection that rivaled Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s. Tree’s white mother was from Chicago, where she had been a schoolteacher. The parents, who had married fairly late and were now separated, hadn’t worked in years. Tree was their job. He was an only child, homeschooled by his mother and coached exclusively and secretly by his father until Tree entered, at age nineteen, the first tournament of his life, a U.S. Open where he finished ninth. Since then he had become not just the most dominant golfer of all time but also the richest, most powerful, and most popular athlete in the world. He was modest and handsome, with perfect Hollywood teeth and the family to go with them: the beautiful wife, the adorable twins. Everybody wanted a piece of the action, and before long, Tree Tremont became the first celebrity ever to have endorsement deals with Coke and Pepsi. His Crest deal alone was worth $5 million a year. Tree could have lived anywhere in the world. He lived in Florida because the Sunshine State has no state income tax. He lived in St. Pete because he fell in love with a boat.

    Only one sportswriter knew what the X stood for. Me. And I was sworn to secrecy.

    “Stepping out,” I said, incredulous.

    “That’s what my peeps are telling me.” Pete’s slang was always outdated by a few years, not that he knew it.

    “You’ve seen his wife, right?” I asked.

    Of course Pete had seen his wife. Snaps of Belinda DeCarlo Tremont, a former Italian bikini model, sunbathing topless had become an Internet sensation ever since plaything.com paid a fired housekeeper a reported $250,000 for them. When I saw the pictures, I couldn’t stop looking at the beads of moisture deep in Belinda’s cleavage. I didn’t know if the droplets were sweat or Mediterranean seawater, and I didn’t care. Lily caught me looking at the pictures one day. She pushed up her A-cup breasts and said in a fine mock-Italian accent, “Good golf buys hot tits.” I loved that girl.

    “Hey, it’s like I always say, dudes want a piece of strange,” Pete said. He had seen it all and done it all. “I hear Tree’s been going upstairs at Gents, dealing Benjamins like he’s working a Vegas blackjack table.”

    I made a mental note: Steal line for screenplay. If I could just sell my screenplay—the one I’d been trying to write for years—I could make everybody happy.

    “Let’s say it’s true, Pete,” I said. I took a good look at my boss, standing in his brown Wal-Mart shoes on the linoleum floor of our dumpy sports department, wearing his extraordinary plaid-on-plaid ensemble, casually offering a tidbit that could bring down an empire. A tidbit that could fell the Tree Corp. “Let’s say we could get the girls on the record.”

    “You’d have to,” Pete said. “You’d need to have it dead to rights.”

    “Fine, you got it dead to rights.”

    “You’d need pictures,” Pete said. “You’d need art.”

    “Okay, you have art,” I said. “You have some girls on the record. You give Tree the chance to deny it. What are you gonna do with it?”

    “We run it.”

    “With our publisher?” The patrician, silver-haired Charles B. “Salty” Morton IV. Ringer for the pompous blowhard in Caddyshack, Judge Smails. He owned the paper free and clear, having inherited it from Salty III, who got it from Salty Junior, who got it from the first C. B. Morton, who predated Morton Salt and the family nickname. Salty IV was more interested in his golf than in his newspaper, and he was on the fast track to becoming a player in the hierarchies of both the United States Golf Association and the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters. “You really think Salty’s going to let us run that story?” I asked.

    Pete ran his thick fingers through his fine hair, leaving an oily film on his nails. “I don’t know,” he said. “But you’d like to give him the chance, right?”

    He grabbed a reporter’s notebook off my desk. He wrote a name and a phone number under a scribbled quote from the high school football coach in Tampa who had let his kids score seventy points against a team that managed one lousy field goal. Did it kill ’em? Don’t see no dead bodies over there.

    I looked at the name. Emerson. I looked at the number. Area code 917. A New York cell phone.

    “You didn’t get it from me,” Pete said. He actually sounded giddy. Which was weird. Because Pete didn’t do giddy.

  • What People are Saying About This

    Bradley S. Klein

    It leaps to the top of the golf novel genre. (Bradley S. Klein, senior writer, Golfweek)

    Jennifer Weiner

    Not a fan of sports books, or golf, or Tiger Woods, but I loved The Swinger. (Jennifer Weiner, author of Then Came You and Good in Bed)

    From the Publisher

    “Hilarious . . . A sensational novel of life on Tour.” Golf Magazine

    “A funny, fast-moving book . . . Dead on . . . The authors know their man and know their game.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

    “A devilishly fun summer read for sports fans, celeb-gawkers, or anyone that just likes a good story . . . If you had any interest at all in the Woods saga as it played out, you’re nearly guaranteed to love this novel.” Daniel Roberts, Fortune

    “An entertaining, revealing, thought-provoking, and cautionary tale . . . It’s easy to catch yourself wondering: Is this what really happened? No one may ever know exactly what happened to Woods, and the book is fiction — keep repeating that with each turned page — but it provides invaluable insight into the life and times of Woods. . . . The Swinger is a golf book, but it is a 21st-century sociology lesson, too.” —Bill Pennington, The New York Times

    “Will leave you howling . . . Surprisingly poignant . . . Bamberger and Shipnuck’s knowledge of the game gives the book a reality rarely seen in golf fiction outside of Dan Jenkins.” —Garry Smits, Florida Times-Union

    "In their roman à clef about Tiger Woods, Shipnuck and Bamberger thinly disguise as fiction plenty of gossip they've heard over their four decades, combined, covering the PGA Tour. . . . What’s more relevant to the story, and to the reader—including, possibly, Tiger Woods himself—is the way Tree approaches his post-scandal life. The authors’ idealized version of Woods comes totally clean about his past mistakes. There are no staged interviews, no clipped or dodgy answers. Tree Tremont lets his guard down, even cracks a few jokes about the absurdity of his situation. He starts enjoying the company of his fellow players and—gasp—the fans. Tree wins that Masters, his game even gets better, and yes, fans fall for him all over again. . . .When reading The Swinger, you can’t help but wonder: what if Tiger were more like Tree?” Time magazine

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    The Swinger 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
    zmagic69 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    A very funny book about a golfer who is so hot and ranked as the top athlete in the world. Unfortunately he likes sex with people other than his wife a little too much. Does this person sound familiar?For the record it is not as good as "The Franchise Babe" by Dan Jenkins but you will definitely find it amusing.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Ordinary; expected more after seeing ads in Sports Illustrated. (Not sure why; wasn't impressed with "Art of Fielding" either.) Doesn't live up to the hype.
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