Curt Sampson was in Augusta on Wednesday, but not at the invitation of Augusta National Golf Club.
Sampson, the author of the 1998 controversial best-seller, The Masters: Golf, Money, and Power in Augusta, Georgia, was in town for a book signing at Calvert's Restaurant, where he was promoting his latest work, Chasing Tiger.
Sampson's book on the Masters took a hard and sometimes critical look at the tournament, Augusta National Golf Club and the late tournament co-founder, Clifford Roberts.
Sampson visited Augusta off and on for more than a year researching the book.
"Out by the entrance (of Augusta National), they have a little picture of me like the bad-check passer at the convenience store," Sampson said, joking. "I'm not a daily deadline guy, so I'll never get media credentials. So I hang out and hope to latch onto a ticket here and there."
The book signing was a fund-raiser for the men's and women's golf teams at Augusta State University.
"This goes hand in hand with what the community is about, supporting Augusta State's golf programs," said Lady Jaguars golf coach Shannon Hanson, holding a copy of Sampson's book.
A regular contributor to Golf Magazine, Sampson has written six golf books, including Hogan.
Sampson spent a year and a half traveling to 10 golf tournaments for Chasing Tiger, a 272-page book about Tiger Woods and the state of golf.
Sampson spoke to Woods in group interviews and even walked inside the ropes with Woods during a round. However, Sampson never got a one-on-one interview with Woods and was also turned down by Woods' father, Earl.
"Tiger's image is very carefully crafted," Sampson said, "and I'm kind of into taking those things apart when I can."
Sampson said his book is not just about Woods. He also focuses on Augusta native Charles Howell.
"He's the star of the book if there is one, because he's frank about wanting to be No. 1 and to beat Tiger," Sampson said. "You just don't hear that from the other guys."
Sampson is not finished writing about Augusta's major golf tournament. He is in the planning stages of writing a book about the 1968 Masters Tournament, which was won by Bob Goalby after Roberto de Vicenzo signed an incorrect scorecard.
"There was a half-hour where we finished the tournament, but we didn't know who won," Sampson said. "That messy, confusing, unsatisfying tournament was like the country at large then."
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 114.
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