As expected, his mother gave the happy couple her blessing. "He's flipped his lid," Doris Jacklin told the papers. Not that it mattered. Jacklin was in love, no longer alone (he still hasn't been on a trip without Astrid) and wondering how much fun the holidays could be with a house full of five kids.
But on Thursday, July 20, at this year's British Open in Troon, Jacklin's luck returned to form.
Astrid began having contractions, which wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't been four months too soon. "Not unusual," she said that day. "All my babies did this." But when the contractions got worse on Friday, it was unusual. On Saturday, they needed to get to London, quickly, to see Astrid's doctor. Nicklaus lent them his private jet. By Monday, Astrid had miscarried. You want a bad break? The doctors said that, in all likelihood, it was a routine test, an amniocentesis, that ended the pregnancy. The fetus was probably perfectly healthy.
Tony Jacklin is sitting in his car. The Rock of Gibraltar looms on the horizon. Jacklin always thought he made a lousy rock himself. Three days after losing the baby, he's crying a little, laughing a little, hashing over the scorecard of his ridiculously uneven life.
"I guess life is kind of like golf," he says. "It's a little like Trevino's chip-in. Anything can happen to you, anytime, so what's the point trying to understand it? You can't make sense of it anyway, so why try?"
Sure, he'll go on. They'll go on. The doctors say Astrid can have more kids if she wants, and she definitely wants. He's the director of golf at the San Roque Club near Sotogrande and he's designing four other courses around the world. He's building an even bigger house for the Brady Bunch, he loves Astrid and he's got the Yanks on the run. Even if his team loses next week's Ryder Cup, it will have been the first time in history that Goliath came in as the underdog.
Yeah, he'll go on. He's used to it now. You take your bounce and you hit it where it lies, right? But why did they have to tell him? Why did they have to give him something else to forget? It was a boy.