Long before Raymond Floyd sent his first predawn iron shot soaring down Broadway, San Francisco was well established among golfers as a highball kind of place. Back then, every player knew that the proper way to pack for Baghdad by the Bay was to bring plenty of aspirin along with the A game. While the mores of golfers, especially the kind in town for next week's U.S. Open, seem to have evolved more or less-more conservative, less nocturnal—in recent years, San Francisco hasn't changed. It's still the best prowl-around town in North America.
Most of the golfers will stay at the Stanford Court Hotel, on the California cable-car line, or at the St. Francis, which overlooks Union Square. Either way, they are only a 30-minute cab ride, tops, from Olympic and just a few blocks from clubs, restaurants and the kind of joints that have made the city famous.
Ask Floyd if it's hard to have a good time in San Francisco. Back in the late '60s and early '70s, when he was single, Floyd was a regular along the Broadway strip. He was part owner of a bar, Coke's, an investor in a topless girls band and one of Carol Doda's many admirers.
Doda, who is memorialized in Tom Wolfe's book The Pump House Gang because she was one of the first topless dancers to enlarge her breasts with silicone, remembers the scene well. "I just knew him as Raymond Floyd," she says. "What did I know about golf? I never went out with him, if that's the next question. He was a bachelor having a great time."
Doda runs a lingerie boutique on Union Street these days and sings in her band, Carol Doda and her Lucky Stiffs. From 1968 to '87, though, when she had a show at the Condor Club (it's a sports bar now), she was the top act on Broadway. To start the show, a piano, with Doda aboard dancing topless, would be slowly lowered from the ceiling. "I did eight or nine shows a night," Doda says. "I felt like an elevator operator, I was going up and down so much. Raymond and the guys [she recalls Miller Barber and Bob Rosburg, among others] would come in, watch the show and then hang out and talk to me at the bar. That could go on for hours."
After hours, there was golf. Doda says that her former manager Voss Boreta and the Tour pros would step out of the Condor Club and onto the toughest dogleg in San Francisco. "They'd get up in the middle of Broadway at three or four in the morning and hit balls to Columbus Avenue," she says.
Those were the days. Of course, no modern pro would go off on such a silly toot, even in San Francisco, right? Check out the photos on the wall at Johnny Love's, one of the hottest singles spots in the city. Along with shots of Michael Irvin, Mark McGwire and Jerry Rice hangs a snap of 10-time Tour winner David Frost. In town for the '93 Tour Championship at Olympic, Frost spent so much time at Love's that the club's owner, Johnny Metheny, put him to work behind the bar. "He was whipping up drinks," Metheny says. "He was here three nights in a row and didn't leave until two in the morning. I was impressed." The late hours didn't seem to faze Frost. He finished the tournament in a tie for second, one shot behind Jim Gallagher Jr.
No one can explain such recuperative feats, but Ed Moose, who has owned a restaurant in the North Beach part of town for 25 years, has a theory. "I don't know if it's the fog or the ocean air, but you don't seem to get as loaded," he says. Moose ran the trendy Washington Square Bar and Grill—a.k.a. the Washbag—before opening Moose's. During the 1984 Democratic Convention the Washbag was jammed with media celebrities ranging from David Brinkley and Tom Brokaw to Jimmy Breslin and Studs Terkel. "We even had George Will, who was such a pain in the ass," says Moose.
Because of the two Tour Championships and the '87 Open, many golfers still remember their way around town. Some of them haven't been forgotten either. During one Tour Championship, players were given vouchers worth $100 at downtown restaurants. Davis Love III stopped at one, and when his tab didn't come to $100, he asked if he could get change. He couldn't.
Bob Mulhern, a manager of Moose's, remembers that on July 26 last year one of the waiters asked him if he recognized the celebrity in the dining room. "Sure," Mulhern said. "[Former secretary of state] George Schultz. He's in here all the time."