"Yeah, when Hogan shoots it," Drum said, laughing heartily at his own wit. Drum was a large Irishman with a P.A. system for a voice and a gag writer's knowledge of diplomacy.
Arnold lingered at the doorway, looking at us as if he were waiting for a better exit line.
"Go on, boy," Drum said. "Get out of here. Go make your seven or eight birdies and shoot 73. I'll see you later."
Drum had been writing Palmer stories since Palmer was the West Pennsylvania amateur champion. On a Fort Worth paper I had been writing Hogan stories for 10 years, but I had also become a friend of Palmer's because I was a friend of Drum's.
Palmer left the room, but we didn't, for the simple reason that Mike Souchak, the leader, would not start his last round for another 15 or 20 minutes. But the fun began before that, when word drifted back that Palmer had indeed driven the first green and two-putted for a birdie. He had not carried the ball 346 yards in the air, but he had nailed it good enough for it to burn a path through the high weeds the USGA had nurtured in front of the green to prevent just such a thing from happening. Palmer had in fact barely missed his eagle putt from 20 feet.
Frankly, we thought nothing of it. Nor did we think much of the news that Arnold had chipped in from 35 feet for a birdie at the second. What did get Bob Drum's attention was the distant thunder, which signaled that Arnold had birdied the 3rd hole. We were standing near the putting green by the clubhouse, and we had just decided to meander out toward Souchak when Drum said, "Care to join me at the 4th hole?"
I said, "He's still not in the golf tournament."
"He will be," Drum said.
And rather instinctively we broke into a downhill canter.
As we arrived at the green, Palmer was drilling an 18-foot birdie putt into the cup. He was now four under through 4, two under for the championship, only three strokes behind Souchak, and there were a lot of holes left to play.