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Does that look blue to you?" Astrid Jacklin was holding the beaker from a home pregnancy test up to the Mediterranean sunlight. Her new husband, Tony Jacklin, was lying on the bed listening to a golf tournament on the radio. They had been married five months, and much of that time had been spent trying to sweep sorrow and humiliation under the doormat, and if this damn thing would just turn blue, they might be able to get on with their happily ever after.
You think Greg Norman is golf's all-time heartbreak kid? Tell it to Tony Jacklin, holder of the worldwide rights to bad breaks. Tell it to the man who owned golf 1970 but by 1976 was passing out in hotel rooms from failure. Tell it to the man who had so much confidence that he fulfilled every goal he set for himself, and then so little that he tried blind putting, hypnosis, Scientology and Valium. How about a guy who has more admirers than you could fit in the white pages but can't stand the mere mention of his mother? Three of Jacklin's best friends died within nine months, and one of them was his first wife, Vivien.
"Is it?" Astrid said again.
"Well, if I used my imagination, maybe it could be almost blue," Tony said.
With a sigh, she put the jar down on a table and crumpled on the bed beside him. When the golf was over, she got up to toss the blasted thing in the trash. Only it was no longer sort of blue. It was deep blue; blissfully, wonderfully, rabbit-killing blue.
"Now what color is it?" she said.
What was this? Something going right for Tony Jacklin? No wonder his good luck didn't last.
With Jacklin, it has always been birdies and bogeys, never your basic par. The oldest child and only son of an English truck driver and his wife, he grew up to become the first Brit to win on the PGA Tour since before World War II; he won the British and U.S. opens in consecutive years, 1969 and '70; was awarded the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1970; and became the English thorn in the side of American golf in 1985 by engineering Europe's first Ryder Cup victory over the U.S. since 1957. He repeated the Ryder Cup win in 1987 and will try for an unprecedented third Sept. 22-24 at The Belfry, in Sutton Coldfield, England. Then again, he's also the clubhouse leader in receiving telegrams that start "With deepest sympathies...."
But this baby seemed like a new start. Was Jacklin pumped up? When the doctors did an ultrasound that showed not much more than a blob, Jacklin walked around with a photo of the image in his pocket. Sometimes he would whip it out, as if it were a snapshot, after you shook his hand. Just beautiful, Tony. What in the world is it?
Tony and Astrid shared the premonition that it was a boy; they would name him TJ Jr. Jacklin had two boys and a girl from his first marriage. And Astrid had a girl and a boy, too, by an unhappy marriage to former Bee Gees guitarist Alan Kendall. But this baby, this would be theirs, innocent of the old wounds, with no past to see in its eyes, and, besides, the kids were crazy about the idea. It would be a nice blue bow to tie this British Brady Bunch together. The baby was due Christmas Eve, which seemed a particularly propitious time.