Shapter is equally amazing. He was born with cerebral palsy, and a doctor told his father he would never graduate from high school. Shapter had surgery at 12, started playing golf at 13 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, graduated from high school and got a degree in history from Texas Wesleyan. "I'm not really prevented from doing anything," Shapter says, "except being fast on the computer." That depends on how you look at it, for Shapter has a computer in his head. He tells me he shot his best score, 42-38-80, and his best nine, 36, two weeks apart in July 1981 at the Z-Boaz course in Texas, the one made famous by Dan Jenkins. He tells me that the 1990 British Open cost him $772 in airfare. He has driven 25,000 miles this year in his '96 Olds Achieva, twice going 11 straight weeks without seeing home.
I wonder where Shapter will end up. With 1999 will come the PGA Tour's new television deal, and talk in the compound is about what that might do to the business. Odds are that runners like Shirley and Shapter, legends at what they do, will always be in demand. "If you don't have Shapter here, the whole audio thing just falls apart," Johnson says. "Same with Shags. They're needed."
And if some day they aren't? "I'll just move back to Texas," Shapter says, "get a full-time job and watch golf."