June 07, 1999 12:00 PM

by Bill Murray with George Peper

Bill Murray is a master of comic insincerity (remember his unctuous lounge-lizard act on Saturday Night Live?), so a reader may be understandably perplexed when the Caddyshack and Groundhog Day star rhapsodizes here about dawn breaking over the fogbound Pebble Beach golf course or holds forth on links etiquette. “Good golf breeds good behavior,” he writes. Good grief! Has this man been shanking golf balls off his noggin? No, in this genial if wispy memoir, Murray (with Golf Digest editor-in-chief Peper) tells how his love of the game began as a boy in Wilmette, Ill., where he and his brothers honed their skills on the “fairway” of the convent across the street (“If you hit the [telephone] pole, you were in the hole”) and by caddying at a local club. Nowadays, the 16-handicapper tees off with the likes of Michael Jordan, baseball pitcher Orel Hershiser and Tom Smothers. Murray’s rounds with them come off as a bit too clubby and self-congratulatory. And sometimes he’ll wander into the rough, as in an endless anecdote about his attempts to watch the NBA finals on TV while shooting a movie for Tim Robbins. But Murray redeems himself on the 18th hole with a riotous account of playing on a storm-drenched course in Ireland. “The rain really did come sideways,” he writes. “God, it was fun.” So is the book. (Doubleday, $19.95)

Bottom Line: Despite a few bogeys, Murray’s wit is par for the course

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