'Chasing Greatness: Johnny Miller, Arnold Palmer, and the Miracle at Oakmont'

Adam Lazarus and Steve Schlossman spent years researching and interviewing the golf legends who were at the 1973 championship at Oakmont, and the pair does a thorough job of recreating the drama and retelling the four-day event from the perspective of all of the key players of that time.

As any golfer will attest, Oakmont Country Club's golf course is "a field of nightmares" and carries with it a "reputation as the meanest test in American championship golf." Since its creation in the early 1900s by iron baron Henry C. Fownes on rolling farmland northeast of Pittsburgh, Oakmont has hosted eight U.S. Open tournaments, testing the abilities of the world's greatest golfers.

But perhaps no tournament—with the exception of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus' playoff in 1962—is as legendary as the 1973 championship. That's when a young, relatively unknown Johnny Miller "overwhelmed a legendary course and a Murderer's Row of golf legends" to come from six strokes back and shoot 63, the lowest score ever at Oakmont, and win the U.S. Open championship.

That is the focus of Adam Lazarus and Steve Schlossman's book, Chasing Greatness: Johnny Miller, Arnold Palmer, and the Miracle at Oakmont. Lazarus and Schlossman spent years researching and interviewing the golf legends who were there that day, and the pair does a thorough job of recreating the drama and retelling the four-day event from the perspective of all of the key players of that time.

Winning a U.S. Open title is huge for any golfer, but arguably the 1973match meant more to Pittsburgh's favorite son, Arnold Palmer, than to any other golfer out there that weekend.

This was a chance for the hometown hero to redeem himself after his shocking loss to 22-year-old Nicklaus in '62. And considering Palmer was entering the back half of his career, the 1973 match would perhaps be his last chance to take a major title.

Entering the fourth and final day of the tournament, it appeared as if Palmer, who led the pack, just might pull off the victory. But in the end, it was Miller who "endured and [overcame] everything." The book goes on to describe that time and place:

"The forlorn, confused feelings of earlier in the day. A six-stroke deficit. The toughest golf course in America. The specter of Jack Nicklaus. The colossal shadow of Arnold Palmer and his hometown crowd. The grinding consistency of Lee Trevino. The inspired charge of Tom Weiskopf. And the spirited, dark-horse, upset bid of John Schlee ... [to become] the United States Open champion."


Chasing Greatness: Johnny Miller, Arnold Palmer and the Miracle at Oakmont by Adam Lazarus and Steve Schlossman; New American Library; $24.95.

Hot Reads

Review: Sienna Mercato

Review: Sienna Mercato

Matthew Porco, one of our Chefs of the Year, designs the menus at Sienna Mercato's downtown establishments.
An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

PittGirl has had enough of the criticism of fanatics and asks the media to stop labeling everyone.
Film Noir Fall Fashion

Film Noir Fall Fashion

Fall into autumn with a fashion landscape awash in black, white and nifty shades of gray.
8 Foodie Day Trips (and a Few Weekends, Too)

8 Foodie Day Trips (and a Few Weekends, Too)

Hoping to take a leaf-peeping road trip? Keep food at the top of your priority list and consult our lineup of eight destinations, most within 150 miles of the city.

The 412

Celebrate Our 'Up-and-Coming Nightlife City' Status With Pittsburgh Cocktail Week

Celebrate Our 'Up-and-Coming Nightlife City' Status With Pittsburgh Cocktail Week

Raise a glass to another 'Burgh superlative at these awesome cocktail parties.
Pittsburgh is One of the Most Cycling-Friendly U.S. Cities

Pittsburgh is One of the Most Cycling-Friendly U.S. Cities

Bicycling mag ranks the Steel City at No. 21 on its list of 50 metropolises.
Thrival Festival Rocked Bakery Square 2.0

Thrival Festival Rocked Bakery Square 2.0

Relive the two-day event that was part innovation and part musical brilliance.
Cameras Roll for ‘The Last Witch Hunter’

Cameras Roll for ‘The Last Witch Hunter’

Although shooting has begun for this flick, plan to catch Vin Diesel and Elijah Wood while they’re out on the town, not during film production.

Hot Reads

Review: Sienna Mercato

Review: Sienna Mercato

Matthew Porco, one of our Chefs of the Year, designs the menus at Sienna Mercato's downtown establishments.
An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

PittGirl has had enough of the criticism of fanatics and asks the media to stop labeling everyone.
Film Noir Fall Fashion

Film Noir Fall Fashion

Fall into autumn with a fashion landscape awash in black, white and nifty shades of gray.
8 Foodie Day Trips (and a Few Weekends, Too)

8 Foodie Day Trips (and a Few Weekends, Too)

Hoping to take a leaf-peeping road trip? Keep food at the top of your priority list and consult our lineup of eight destinations, most within 150 miles of the city.
From Field to Fork

From Field to Fork

We put together this dynamic guide to help you find and engage with the region’s sustainable producers of meat, honey, alcohol, fruits and vegetables.
Review: Café Zinho

Review: Café Zinho

Seasoned chef and entrepreneur Toni Pais continues to impress folks who dine at his longstanding Mediterranean establishment, Café Zinho.