Moreover, every break went his way. Disaster never got within a three-wood of him. He made only five bogeys and not one double bogey. On Sunday, tied for the lead, he hit a terrible drive on the par-5 2nd hole. The ball struck a tree and bounced into the fairway, pretty as you please. "Look, there's Harvey," Julie said to a friend. Crenshaw birdied the hole.
What's weird is that this did not start out as Crenshaw's week at all. The first two days of the tournament belonged to the 19-year-old dervish known as Tiger Woods, the U.S. Amateur champ playing in his first Masters and only the fourth black American to compete in the event. He changed the face of the tournament, literally. This year you did not have to look for white caddie overalls to find a black face. They were everywhere in Woods's teeming galleries, and they were there to take a sip of golf history, to see the baby steps of the first potentially great black golfer on the most important golf course in America.
"My god, I had no idea how long he was," said none other than Jack Nicklaus. In practice rounds Woods was 30 yards longer than such short knockers as Greg (Shark) Norman and Fred (Boom-Boom) Couples, who have been known to blast golf balls from here to Peachtree Plaza. On Friday at the par-5 13th, when his three-wood tee ball got stuck behind a huge pine to the right of the fairway, he cut a two-iron from 250 yards over Rae's Creek, over the flag and into the back bunker. On the 500-yard par-5 15th, he hit either an eight-or a nine-iron for his second shot in all four rounds. On the 405-yard uphill par-4 18th on Sunday, he had a sand wedge to the hole.
Somebody asked Long John Daly who was longer now, him or this 150-pound rocket launcher. Daly said, "I guess we'd probably be about even." Wrong. Woods's average driving distance was 311.1 yards, the longest in the tournament and 14 yards more than Daly's.
Too bad Woods was almost as long with his short irons as he was with his driver. He flew more greens than Delta. If somebody will just sneak into this kid's bag some night and uploft each of his irons three degrees, he'll be scary good here. Still, Woods's first two rounds at Augusta were respectable—matching even-par 72s, nine shots behind the midway leader, Jay Haas. And he earned honors as low amateur; indeed, he was the only one of the five amateurs even to sniff the cut.
Through it all—all the hype, the huge crowds, the massive press conferences—he chilled. He walked in the middle of the fairways with his hands in his pockets and his head down, as though he were on his way to Monday, nine o'clock, history. When he was asked if he was awed or thrilled or struck dumb by Augusta National, he shrugged and said, "It's just another tournament to me."
But, but, but what about Magnolia Lane? "It was just a short drive. I thought it would be longer," he said. But, but, but what about staying in the Crow's Nest? "I don't know. I came in late, threw my bag down and went right to sleep."
That had a few green jackets' jowls shaking, but how else could he be? Why should he genuflect at the clubhouse door when so many black golfers have been banned from walking through it? How could he pretend to cherish a place that went out of its way to keep Charlie Sifford out? Or have goose bumps in the company of men who only last week inducted the second black member ever into the club? In a town where his parents woke up on Friday morning to find a window of their rental car shattered? He's supposed to turn cartwheels on the veranda?
What no one knew was that at night Woods was sneaking around the clubhouse, opening doors and wandering into the champions' locker room. "To tell you the truth," he finally said on Sunday, "I had the time of my life."
Nicklaus has played in exactly 36 more Masters than Woods, but this year's had to be his weirdest. He knocked two middle irons into the same par-4 hole—the 5th—for two eagles, a feat never accomplished by anybody else in Masters history or anywhere else on earth, for that matter.