J. Douglas Edgar was an excellent golfer…good enough to win the Canadian Open twice in a row early in the last century, and lots of other tournaments as well. The best golfers of his time, including fabled amateur Bobby Jones, lost to Edgar. But they also learned from him, because J. Douglas Edgar’s most significant claim to fame was that he developed the swing that today’s best golfers use and, probably, take for granted.
But the story of “the movement” that Mr. Edgar found in his own golf swing and taught to his students is only part of a new book titled To Win and Die in Dixie. Author Steve Eubanks is at least as concerned with the death of this largely-forgotten golfer as he is with Edgar’s legacy. Although it was initially assumed that he’d been killed in a hit-and-run accident, at least one of the four men who came upon the dying golfer on West Peachtree Street in Atlanta on August 8th, 1921, came to believe that J. Douglas Edgar had been murdered. Such was the burden of Comer Howell, a twenty-year-old newspaper reporter through whose person the author explores the circumstances surrounding the demise of J. Douglas Edgar.
Steve Eubanks can’t claim to have solved the mysteries inherent in this ninety year old crime story, but he has built an engaging book out of J. Douglas Edgar’s short but intriguing life and the puzzle of his death.