But Calcavecchia, who shot a nine-under-par 271 to finish 16th at the Nelson, is not one to stick with a putter for long. Last year he shelved another Ping, spending three months with a Zebra. Pretending he was Ben Crenshaw at this year's Players Championship and Masters, he went to a Wilson 8802. That didn't work. So he's back to Billy until Billy fails him again and winds up in a lake or Calcavecchia's closet in Scottsdale.
"If you're putting bad, you can do one of two things," Calcavecchia said. "You can stand out there and putt for five or six hours until you think you're putting good, or you can just go to the pro shop and try something new. Sometimes that works. It does with me, anyway."
Tennis fans at the Nelson Classic should have recognized the man toting Jesper Parnevik's bag. It was Mikael Pernfors, who at one time was ranked No. 10 in the world on the courts. Out for nine months with a ruptured Achilles tendon, Pernfors is getting ready for a return this summer. Little did he know that golf could be part of his conditioning program. "He says the Tour is harder than he thought," Parnevik said after temperatures on Saturday rose above 90�. "He's waiting to go back and have a vacation on the tennis court again. He was dying out there today."
Parnevik and Pernfors met in Sweden and have become closer friends in the U.S. Pernfors appeared on an installment of Inside the PGA Tour that Parnevik hosted from his home club, Ibis Golf and Country Club, in West Palm Beach, Fla.
"He was supposed to come for a week, and we couldn't get rid of him," Parnevik says. "He stayed for a month. We had a lot of fun. It seems like tennis players are completely golf crazy."
The PGA of America paid tribute to the 15 living U.S. Ryder Cup captains during a dinner at the Loews Anatole Hotel in Dallas on May 8. The gathering included Nelson and Wadkins, who served as cohosts, Jack Burke Jr., Billy Casper, Raymond Floyd, Jay Hebert, Dave Marr, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Dave Stockton and Tom Watson. Jack Nicklaus was on vacation in Mexico, and Lee Trevino was celebrating his wife's birthday. Dow Finsterwald had a corporate commitment. Hogan had undergone surgery that day.
The dinner gave Wadkins the opportunity to pick the brains of his predecessors, but he was too awestruck to do so. "It's the first time I've been in a room with Arnold Palmer where I didn't notice every second he was there," Wadkins said. "It's hard to imagine being in a room where Arnold isn't the dominant figure. It was like, 'Hi, Arnold, how are you doing? Excuse me, I want to talk to Jackie. I want to talk to Sam. I want to talk to Byron.' The one sad part was that Hogan couldn't be there."
As host, Wadkins had made the seating chart, placing himself between Nelson and Hogan. "I ended up with Jim Awtrey sitting beside me instead of Hogan," a smiling Wadkins said of the PGA's chief executive officer. "Talk about a letdown."