If one subscribes to George Plimpton's famous Small Ball Theory (the smaller the ball, the better the sportswriting), then SPORTS ILLUSTRATED contains an embarrassment of riches for nearly 15% of our three-million-plus subscribers. This week those 440,000 subscribers are receiving GOLF PLUS, our award-winning bonus insert that will appear in the magazine 40 times this year.
In this issue the 13 edit pages of GOLF PLUS allow SI to give the PGA Championship blanket coverage. A team of 12 SI writers, reporters and photographers was dispatched to Winged Foot Golf Club. In addition to the account by Jaime Diaz that leads off the main magazine (page 28), Rick Reilly comments on the Ryder Cup team selection process; Alan Shipnuck describes John Daly's battle to get his life, and game, in order; John Garrity remarks on the mystery of the majors; and Gary Van Sickle contributes a notes column. The last is a standard feature of GOLF PLUS (and regularly includes a guest essay, this week by club pro Mike Burke Jr.). To round out our package, SI special contributor Ron Fimrite chronicles the life of A.W. Tillinghast, Winged Foot's architect.
Four years after making its debut in SI, GOLF PLUS provides more than 500 pages a year of golf coverage. Indeed, GOLF PLUS devoted 36 edit pages to this year's Masters and 24 more to its roundup of the U.S. Open at Congressional. What you get is a unique approach: GOLF PLUS isn't about lessons on how to fix your backswing; it's about in-depth analysis of golf events, on the professional and the amateur level, as well as pieces that you won't see elsewhere. For instance, GOLF PLUS didn't flinch from investigating allegations of cheating on the PGA Tour (Oct. 30, 1995) or from chasing the real story behind the inflammatory remarks made by then CBS broadcaster Ben Wright (Dec. 4, 1995). In March, SI's golf writers swept the awards, in the magazine newswriting category, given by the Golf Writers Association of America. "We go our own way," says senior editor Jim Herre, who oversees golf for us. "With the best writers and photographers, we give our coverage the same in-depth treatment that SI gives all its stories."
The increase in pages devoted to golf has paralleled the sport's recent rise in popularity. "We meet the demand out there for more coverage," says Diaz. "There's such a broad spectrum of stories to choose from in golf, I can't think of a better situation for writer and public alike."
•You can order GOLF PLUS for free by calling 1-800-205-0314.