Der Bingle himself once made a hole in one at 16, and Jerry Pate put a then trendy orange ball into the cup with a one-iron during the 1982 Crosby. Then there are the horror stories: Ed (Porky) Oliver shot a 16 there in the 1954 Crosby; Hans Merrell took a 19 in '59.
Fatalism seems the best way to explain Norman's attitude toward the 16th. Fresh from winning a tournament in Australia, he hurried out to the ice plant that guards the right side of the green and started hacking practice shots. "I have a great affinity for this stuff," said Norman. "I couldn't wait to get there." When he arrived at the 16th tee during the nearly windless first round on Thursday, he was seven under par and sounding the bugle call that the Shark is back. His two-iron faded into the ice plant as if drawn by a magnet. He escaped with a double bogey 5.
Meanwhile, Clint Eastwood, a 15-handicap player whose psychic load got lighter last week when he announced he will not run for reelection as mayor of Carmel, Calif., drilled a four-wood four feet from the cup. He missed the putt, but the shot definitely made his day.
The first-round lead was shared by Jim Booros, Jim Gallagher and Mark Calcavecchia, who had 67s. On Friday, Jones exploded with a 64 at Cypress, which tied him with Calcavecchia at eight-under 136. On Saturday, Jones shot a solid 70 at Spyglass Hill for a 54-hole score of 206, which gave him a three-shot lead over Bernhard Langer and Craig Stadler. It was the first time Jones, 29, had ever led a tournament alone after three rounds. But he said he had gained confidence after his victory, with Jane Crafter, in the JC Penney Mixed Team Classic in December.
A former all-state high school basketball player in Colorado, Jones liked the pro-am format, in which every pro teams with an amateur for a competition that runs in conjunction with the main event. "I think that's why I might be playing well," he said. "It takes some of the pressure off to play for my partner." The team of Jones and Dr. James Rheim, a four handicapper, shot a 31-under-par 257, to finish just two back of winners Dan Pohl and Dan Marino (a long-hitting 16 handicapper).
Jones had played explosive golf with 15 birdies and two eagles in the first 54 holes. "When I can minimize the bogeys, I usually play well," he said.
But Sunday, when the field returned to Pebble Beach for a second time, Jones began with bogeys—at the 3rd, 5th and 8th—and dropped three strokes behind Langer. He steadied himself in mid-round, one-putting six greens as Langer and Stadler fell back. Ahead, Tway birdied the 18th to finish with 280. After Jones bogeyed the 15th and 17th, then left his seven-footer short on 18, the two went to the 16th hole for the playoff.
"Win or lose, I knew I had played pretty well," said Jones. "And I had grinded it out all day. I've never looked at myself as a future great player. I'm skinny, and I don't feel that good when I hit the ball. But one thing God has given me is that grinding attitude."
Last week, that was enough to make a career blossom.