Herbert Warren Wind Dead at 88


Herbert Warren Wind, the writer who coined the term Amen Corner at Augusta National, died Monday. He was 88.
Wind died of pneumonia at a nursing facility in Bedford, Mass., said his nephew, writer Bill Scheft.
Wind, a master of exquisite golf prose for more than four decades, was renowned for his lengthy profiles'he wrote longhand and in pencil'during two stints with The New Yorker (1948-53, 1960-90) and for Sports Illustrated (1954-60).
He was a great historian of the game and a terrific writer, Jack Nicklaus said Tuesday, moments after finishing a practice round at his Memorial Tournament. You look back on how golf has been written over the years and there have been three or four guys who really stood above the rest. He was certainly one of them.
The Masters was an annual stop for Wind, who traveled the world profiling the legendary players and moments in the sport. While working for Sports Illustrated in 1958, he dubbed the 11th, 12th and 13th holes at Augusta National as Amen Corner.
Herbert Warren Wind was one of the greatest golf writers that ever lived, Masters chairman Hootie Johnson said. For many years, he wrote wonderful stories about the Masters and the players that competed in the tournament.
He was on a first-name basis with the legends of the game: Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen, Nicklaus and Ben Hogan.
Wind considered Hogan the best player ever, and teamed with him to write the still-popular instruction book Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf.
The writer also thought the duel between Nicklaus and Tom Watson in the 1977 British Open at Turnberry was the most stirring tournament he ever witnessed.
Wind wrote with a fluid, graceful style'and he seldom wrote anything that wasnt several thousand words long.
I needed 5,000 words to clear my throat, he once joked.
His copy set him apart from others, as did his appearance.
We walked a lot of golf courses together, said Kaye Kessler, a fellow golf writer. He always had his walking stick, always wore a tie, and always had on a tweed jacket'even in the hottest months of the year when he was at the U.S. Open. He never went anywhere without that walking stick.
The second of six children born to a tanner in Brockton, Wind graduated from Yale and received his masters degree from Cambridge. He had played golf as a youngster at Thorny Lea Golf Course in his hometown, but fell in love with the game during his time in England.
In addition to his writing, he also spent two years as an associate producer of Shells Wonderful World of Golf.
A fine player himself, he competed in the 1950 British Amateur.
During his years at The New Yorker, he also profiled architects, politicians, writers and social figures.
Among the many young writers he encouraged was his nephew.
Scheft, former head monologue writer for Late Show with David Letterman, now has his own comedy column in Sports Illustrated.
He was a great writer and an even better man, Scheft said. He was the biggest, biggest influence in my professional career. He showed me the possibility of a writers life.
Wind never married, spending his time writing, painting and traveling when he wasnt going around the globe to cover golf.
He was very much the intellectual, Nicklaus said. Herb was a great guy. I liked him a lot. Its a great loss.
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