"Free clothes," he said.
Wadkins used his two picks to take a strange couple—Curtis Strange and Fred Couples. The former hasn't won in this decade, and the latter has played in only six events since the Masters. But Strange brings a legacy to Oak Hill, where he won his last U.S. Open in 1989. And Couples brings all that talent.
As does Els. Riviera appeared reserved for the big-boned 25-year-old magnificently drowsy South African, ambling along in his bovine way, as if any minute he might lie down in the kikuyu grass and make animals in the clouds. He had led, along with Mark O'Meara, at 11 under after two days and had owned it flat out after three at 16 under, three strokes and miles ahead of everybody else.
"Considering the way the course is playing and the way you're playing, isn't a three-shot lead insurmountable?" a distaff reporter asked him Saturday night. To which Els wrinkled his nose and replied, ' "Have you been around, lady?"
But when he and his documented standing-50 pulse began on Sunday by making an easy birdie at the par-5 1st hole and taking a four-shot lead into the 3rd, it looked as if Els would become the first man since one Jack William Nicklaus to win two majors by the age of 25.
But then someone Els seemed to take over. He bogeyed the arduous 4th and the easy 6th, the green with a bunker in the middle of it. On the 9th he saw Elkington had caught him. At the 10th he noticed he was behind. His 72 was two too many and looked like a typographical error next to the 66-65-66 he had already put up, all of which caused him to retire to the clubhouse for some cold ones. "What the hell do you want me to say?" he moaned. "It was a hard situation." He took a powerful chug and looked at his shoes. "Next time."
For once, next time felt like right now to Elkington, the Australian who has grown to hate the question, "So, what is Greg Norman really like?" "I was just swinging so good," he said. Of course Elkington always swings good. His golf swing is something of an aria, named in a players' poll as one of the three best on Tour. "God," said one player, "can you imagine living with that?"
The difference this time was that his putting stroke was just as good. His next-door neighbor and longtime mentor in Houston, 1956 PGA champion Jackie Burke, had found a flaw during Elkington's back-nine struggles last month at the British Open, where he finished two back despite—surprise—hitting one approach after another within the shadow of the flag-stick. He wasn't releasing the putter, Burke scolded. This was news? Elkington came to Riviera ranked 133rd on the Tour in putting.
Suddenly he was pouring in putts. In fact, nobody had fewer putts for the week than Elkington's 106. Montgomerie had 14 more. And Sunday, when he birdied seven of the first 12 holes, Elkington was away by two.
Then Montgomerie, a boy fairly weaned on golf-course grass, the son of the secretary at Scotland's Royal Troon, began his own scorched-cup tour. He birdied the 16th and 17th. And as Elkington sat in the scorer's booth watching on TV, the Scot thumped in a 20-footer on the 18th.