MAPW Alum Adam Lazarus Publishes Book -Department of English - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, July 15, 2010

MAPW Alum Adam Lazarus Publishes Book

Adam Lazarus (MAPW '06), along with Carnegie Mellon History Professor Steven Schlossman, co-authored the recently published book "Chasing Greatness: Johnny Miller, Arnold Palmer, and the Miracle at Oakmont" (New American Library, 2010). The book tells the story of the 1973 U.S. Open golf championship held at the local Oakmont Country Club.

The collaboration began when Adam took a History of Golf course with Professor Schlossman.

"For my final project, I wrote an essay/article (about 10,000 words) on how sportswriters covered amateurs vs. professional golfers in the early part of the 1900s. I use two golf tournaments played at Oakmont Country Club as sort of the 'common denominator,' so the essay dealt a lot with the history of major championships at Oakmont," Adam says.

After reading the essay, Professor Schlossman approached Adam about working together to turn the project into a book. They spent several months researching the history of majors at Oakmont, finding that the 1973 Open stood out as the most significant and compelling tournament.

"From there, we just continued to uncover more and more great anecdotes and characters and it snowballed into 300 plus-pages... Eventually we came up with what we both think is both a compelling tale but also a considerable collection of the game's history," explains Adam.

Adam credits his experience in the MAPW program as crucial to the success of the project.

"There is no way I could have written this book (or any other sports book) without my experience as an MAPW. Each course taught me so much about how to write or what to write. The tools I gained as an MAPW are what make me a sportswriter, a good one, I hope," says Adam.

Currently, Adam is finishing a second book (this one solo-authored) about Super Bowl XXV, due for a September 2011 release. He says, "...that game [Super Bowl XXV] was about more than just one amazing football contest, the closest in the game's history."

In addition, Adam is also serving as the lead researcher on another football book, New York Times writer Don Van  Natta Jr.'s biography on NFL coaching legend Sid Gillman.

"That book comes out in 2012 and Don is a world-class author who's won multiple Pulitzer Prizes," he says.

To any aspiring authors out there, Adam offers this advice: "My advice would be write and never give up. The only way to get to be a good writer is to do it and by being your own biggest critic and your most nagging editor. And just because you don't get an agent or editor knocking down your door, don't give up. Find a story or character (fiction or non-fiction) that you are passionate about and pursue it."

For more on Adam, "Chasing Greatness," and his other projects, please visit his website. You can also read the reviews of "Chasing Greatness" USA Today, NCAA online, and SI Golf [.pdf].