But Yankees weren't the only ones suffering. Snead became so uncomfortable that he did the thing with his pants and socks. Known to be truculent on occasion, Snead admitted that he "kinda snapped" at the tournament official who informed him that derogatory comments were being made about his appearance. "I really didn't care what it looked like," Snead fumed. "I was just trying to get through the round. I'd wear shorts if I could, even though my legs are as white and skinny as out-of-bounds stakes. Heck, I'd have taken my pants off if I could have. I mean, what's the big deal? Colbert can turn his shirt collar up, so why can't I turn my pants up?"
Maybe the turned-up collar helped, and maybe it didn't, but Jim Colbert was so unstifled by the Friday heat that he stunned everyone with a course-record 63 that put him 11 under par after two rounds and four shots ahead of Snead and Trevino, his closet competitors. "In the locker room some of the guys told me it was the best round they had ever seen on the Senior tour," said Colbert. "I know it's the best round I've ever played. I've been out here 4½ years, and I've never hit the ball like I hit it today."
On Saturday, at 2:50 in the afternoon of another insufferably hot and humid day, play was suspended because of lightning. Another storm, this one including a spattering of hail, stretched the postponement to four hours. By 6:50, when the final eight threesomes resumed play, it was so cool and overcast that Snead joked, "I felt like I needed a sweater." Only 20 minutes later the threat of more rain and lightning caused officials to order the players to come in from the gloaming and call it a day.
During the short resumption, Snead eagled the par-5 13th to take the lead at 13 under, a stroke ahead of the faltering Colbert, who was finally feeling the heat. Also pulling an eagle out of the evening session was Nicklaus, who moved into contention at 10 under. On Sunday morning the third round was completed with Snead, at 13 under, leading Dave Stockton by one stroke and Nicklaus, Floyd and Zarley by two. Colbert shot himself out of contention by bogeying three of the four holes he played Sunday morning. Nevertheless, 15 players were within seven shots of the lead, and all of them knew that Snead, because of the 1992 fiasco, was apt to rattle like a Model T if somebody applied enough pressure.
That somebody turned out to be Nicklaus, the only player to make a serious move. Isao Aoki of Japan, the Senior tour's leader in scoring average and putting, was finished after a snowman on number 2. Floyd dropped out of contention by hitting into the water on number 6. Stockton, who won the tournament in 1992 and '94, couldn't get anything going, and nobody really took 61-year-old Ben Smith seriously, although everybody was delighted when he played well enough to finish 12 under, tying Colbert and McGee for third. On the lead, Snead went out in 32 and seemed to have himself well under control until the tough 14th, where he made what turned out to be his only bogey of the day after getting steamed at an official who warned him against slow play.
"No, it wasn't the same guy who made me pull the pants down," Snead said later. "I thought it was totally uncalled for, though. Here I was, leading the tournament and trying to figure out how to get my ball out of the rough. Should I be worrying about winning the tournament or how fast I'm playing? Besides, I never play slow. Never. I don't know what's going on. You think they [the officials] are picking on me or something?"
No, but fate seemed to be. The playoff began at number 18, the same hole where Snead had suffered his devastating collapse three years earlier. But this time he outdrove Nicklaus. Then, after Nicklaus had hit a five-iron so far to the right that he had a 30-foot putt for a birdie, Snead pitched a lovely dart that stopped four feet from the hole. After Nicklaus missed, Snead calmly tapped in for a victory that still wasn't sweet enough to make him forget about '92.
"You can't make up for something like that," Snead said. "That was the first time in my life I felt I had it right there and let it get away. It hurt me. But today it was great to win the way I won. I honestly wasn't nervous in the playoff at all. I just said the hell with it."
How special was it to beat Nicklaus?
"Like everybody else, I've lost my share to Jack," Snead said. "But at least one time, it was my day. Guys like me don't peak very long before we drop back into a valley. It seems that throughout my career, Jack peaked at the same times as me. Of course, his peaks were higher and lasted longer."