I got back to the Lodge and called Arnie. He said we ought to go for a plane ride. Arnie has his plane on the tour with him, and I thought it would be a good idea. I went over to his room, but we played bridge instead. For the first rubber Arnie and I were teamed against Allen Humphrey, an oilman from Dallas, and Bob Drum, who used to cover golf for The Pittsburgh Press but now has his own public relations business. On the second hand Arnold opens one no trump, and there I am looking at a hand that has 19 points in it, including two aces which, if you don't happen to be a bridge player, means we had plenty and then some. I responded three spades, he went to four no trump, asking for aces. I showed two, he said six spades and I took it to seven spades because I had a void. After the first couple of tricks I didn't have to play it out, we just laid it down. I heard someone say once that Arnold and I play bridge the way we play golf: go for the pin. In this case we were lucky, but going for the pin can have its disadvantages in bridge. Does golf have its equivalent of going down doubled, redoubled and vulnerable? I guess it does. Hitting the same tree twice, for instance? After two rubbers I quit and went out to the practice range for a long workout. Started to hit the ball very, very well.
On Saturday I played Pebble Beach, a course I have usually done well on. I figured my game was in shape and I was ready to go. Then I went out and hit the ball as badly as I ever have. In fact, it was just about the worst round I have played since turning pro. If I hadn't putted well the 77 I finally got might have been an 85. If I hadn't hit some fantastic recovery shots I might not have broken 100. It made me sick.
Care for an example? On the second hole, a par-5 with a wide trap cutting across the fairway about 50 yards short of the green, I hit a good drive down the right side. I was debating using a three-wood to float the ball into the green, but then I remembered the first golf tip I ever did for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED—one that, strangely enough, discussed this very hole. The tip advised using a long iron when there is trouble behind the green, and trying to skip the ball in rather than take the chance of flying the ball over the green with a wood. So I pulled out the one-iron and snap-hooked the ball into the trap about 150 yards in front of me. It took a 15-foot putt to finally give me a 5. That's the way the round went. Understandably, I missed the cut. After I finished the round I went back to the room and watched Nichols and Jacky Cupit give Phil Rodgers and myself a 4-and-3 licking on the filmed CBS Golf Classic. That is the miracle of television. You can see yourself play lousy golf in California and New Jersey the same day.
Later on I went up to Arnold's room to play some bridge, and he showed me the wedge he had used while taking a 9 on the 17th hole. It had a chunk out of it the size of a man's fingertip. Golf shouldn't be played on rocks.
"I kept waiting for the ball to stop," Arnold said. "But it never did. It just kept going out to sea and coming back again with every wave."
I was feeling pretty depressed, but we joined a party of 16 for dinner at the Lodge that included the Palmers, Mark McCormack, Bob Newhart and his wife and Gordon and Sheila MacRae. Talked fishing with MacRae. Right now fishing sounds like a lot more fun than golf.
Both Arnie and I felt like skipping San Francisco entirely and heading directly for Palm Springs and a week of practice, but we finally decided not to. Since I was out of action, Barbara and I decided to fly to Chicago first thing Sunday morning. We are building a new house in Columbus, and we had made arrangements to meet our interior decorator at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago and start buying some new furniture. Barbara felt I should come along, not because she likes my taste but because then I couldn't complain later about what we bought. I'll figure out some way, however.
Barbara and I flew to Chicago, checking into the Hotel Continental around 7 p.m., and had dinner in our room late Sunday night. The first week back on the tour was over. If we have as bad luck with our furniture as I've had with my golf, our new house is going to be a pretty big mess.
Miles this week: 4,600
Winnings this week: 0