There was a small gallery watching some players practice, and after I'd smashed out four good ones a lady called out: "Jack, do you always play with a closed stance?" Me? A closed stance? My right foot back behind the left? Never.
"Madam," I said, "I don't know whether I do or not. That's why I'm out here. To find out."
I went back to the Jack Tar and stopped off at a party the hotel manager was giving for the players staying there. I'm not much of a drinker. Maybe a small one before supper when I'm due to play late the next day. So I usually just have a Coke at parties like these.
After dinner Ray, Phil and I went to see a hockey game. First hockey game I'd ever been to. It was between the San Francisco Seals and the Los Angeles Blades. A lot of action. The players seemed to be big old bald guys, rough and tough. They really went at each other, and there was as much fighting as hockey. We had fun. Phil would get excited about an ant race, so he got pretty worked up about the game.
It was rainy and cold again on Friday, but at least I was not scheduled to play until quite late. Called my secretary, Colleen Drue, in Columbus and dictated about 10 letters before going to the course. Is this the only sport where athletes need full-time secretaries? Played a little better, but took 37 putts and wound up with a 72. That night a group of us were invited to have dinner at a press party in the Press Club downtown. Tony Lema, Jack Burke, George Bayer, Julius Boros, Palmer and I were to receive what the San Francisco sportswriters call Black Cat awards. It is a little wooden carving of a cat set in a metal base. Anyone holding one of these while talking to the press may not be quoted. That kind of thing could be useful to have. Maybe I should carry it to all press conferences.
Routine but pleasant evening. Lema and Burke could not make it and Arnold had to leave early, but the rest of us chatted with the writers and had roast beef for dinner. During the meal I asked Hal Wood of the United Press why the six of us had been chosen for the award. He said they just liked to give out awards.
The next day I broke 70 for the first time this year either in a practice round or a regular tournament. A 66. I made up my mind to get my putts to the hole and not leave any short. I was hitting the ball well, though hooking it a bit more than I care to. I can control it on the course, but it is something I definitely want to get rid of. After lunch I went to the practice range for another long session. Seems like a funny thing to do after shooting a 66, but I've got to get my game going. One noticeable difficulty was that I seemed to be hooding the club as I started the backswing. In other words, the back of my left hand was staying underneath the right too long. Thus the clubhead was swinging too far inside as my body turned. The hook was the result. The idea is to take the club straight back while the body turns. The club swings back more or less in one direction while the body turns in another.
I called Barbara in Columbus, and we talked about some of the things she is buying for the house. I arranged to meet her and the kids when their plane gets into Palm Springs, Calif. Monday afternoon. Had dinner with Ray Floyd, and then we drove out to the University of San Francisco gym to watch a Warrior-Laker basketball game. It was raining and I could not find a parking place anywhere. Finally I just pulled the car to the curb in front of one of those funny little garage driveways that San Francisco seems to have millions of. It worked for about 30 minutes. Just as the second quarter started, the loudspeaker announced: "Will the owner of a black Lincoln Continental, license plate No. BAJ 734, please report to the policeman at the main door."
Just my luck. A police officer met me and said, "You might be saving yourself $20."
"Yes, but there are 1,000 other cars parked in front of driveways."