Those who tee off later in the morning have another sort of problem, for they are likely to be paired with one of the big-name pros who attract the galleries. A somewhat extreme example this year was Mark McCormack, the young Cleveland attorney who manages the business affairs of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus. A fine golfer in his own right, McCormack went as far as the third round of the 1958 National Amateur. This year in his second Crosby (Bing himself arranges all the partnerships), he found himself paired with Palmer.
When McCormack and Palmer started off at Cypress Point last week in a foursome with Dave Hill and popular Phil Harris, they took along the largest first-day gallery in the Crosby's history. "I can't say I was really nervous," McCormack recalled later, "although if I hadn't known Arnie so well I'd probably have had a lot more butterflies. The worst part is that you know all the gallery wants to see is Arnold. So you're anxious to get out of the way. I know Arnold would want to advise me on a lot of my shots, but if he's across the fairway somewhere, I don't want to call him over and hold things up. As a result, you rush yourself. That's the worst part of having a big gallery."
"Another difficulty with the gallery," says Thomas Choate, a low-handicap New York lawyer who once starred in the Harvard backfield, "is the way they stand so close to you." Last year, as he was this year, Choate was paired with pro Joe Campbell, who lost a sudden-death playoff for the individual championship to Doug Ford. "We had a pretty big gallery with us at Pebble on the last day," Choate said, "and at the 9th tee they were standing so close I was afraid I'd hit one of them on my backswing. So I took a slow practice swing first, and as the club went back it knocked the cigar out of a guy's mouth.
"Playing with Campbell was a wonderful experience," Choate continued. "He had a 71 at Pebble Beach on Friday, the day of the terrific storm when the wind was blowing so hard you couldn't even reach the par-3 17th with a driver. Joe was always very considerate of me, and he even moved the gallery around as if he were a marshal himself. You know, everyone is watching the pros or the real celebrities, and they don't know you're in the tournament. After the pro holes out, the gallery doesn't much care what happens to your ball because they don't realize that you may have a handicap stroke on that hole. The main thing, though, is that you don't want to do anything that might upset your pro if he's in contention. It means a lot more to him than just the prize money; it means getting into the Tournament of Champions and all sorts of extra things."
Not that the prize money is insignificant. Billy Casper got $5,300 for being top pro last week, and Doug Sanders won $3,000 when he teamed with Lloyd Pitzer, a Chicago insurance man, to take the pro-am title. "Actually, with all that's at stake and all the excitement, the best thing you can do is try to be relaxed and play your regular game and don't talk to your pro unless he talks to you," added Choate.
Choate was asked how an amateur decides what to do on the 16th at Cypress, the famous water-flanked monster. "That's a real problem," he said. "You think about it all the way around. I get a stroke there, so if I think we are leading or up close I play my tee shot safe, and with my stroke we're sure of getting a net 3. Of course, if you need to pick up strokes you've got to go for it and hope you get a net 2."
Every team has its own ideas about how to handle the 16th, and Mark McCormack described how he and Palmer worked it out on Thursday. "I was hitting first, and I sensed that Arnold would want to go for it even though he was three-under at the time. He didn't say anything, but I just felt he would go for it. The wind wasn't strong, so I thought I could make it with a three-wood. It's a lucky thing I did because I hit one of my best shots of the day onto the green. Arnold hit over the green and took a double bogey."
"One thing you can't help worrying about is that when you miss a short putt you know it's going to cost the pro a few dollars." The speaker was Jean Luis DuPont, a Parisian who had come all the way to Pebble Beach to play in the tournament of his friend, Bing, with whom he had golfed frequently in France. One of the leading French amateurs, even Jean Luis felt some concern playing with a pro of the caliber of Jon Gustin, his partner.
Pete Elliott, who had been playing in the same foursome with DuPont, agreed in part. "You're nervous, sure, but if you're playing well, you play a little better when you're nervous. If you're playing poorly, that's a different matter."
Naturally it isn't ever fun for an amateur to make mistakes at the Crosby, but every now and then one of the show people who is quick with a quip turns a fluff into a memorable laugh, a reminder that fun and enjoyment are what Crosby really wants the pros, the amateurs and everybody else to get out of his Clambake. One of the best at this is Tennessee Ernie Ford.