SEA LIONS, FONDUE AND A SLAM WITH ARNIE
Here it was, the third week of January, and time, I told myself, to be getting back to work. The Florida sun had been nice. The fishing had been fun. The laying aside of the golf clubs, the staying in one place, the absence of reporters, the businessmen not talked to—all this had been a refreshing change of pace, if you could call it a pace at all. But now, after a seven-week rest from golf, I was ready to get back out on the tour, ready and eager. I felt strong. I really wanted to start playing again. Mother and Dad had come down from home—Columbus, Ohio—for a time and were staying with the kids (Jackie, 2�, and Stevie, 1) in Fort Lauderdale, so Barbara, my wife, was able to travel with me. We left Florida for Monterey, Calif. via San Francisco on a National Airlines flight early in the afternoon. I checked our baggage, which included my golf equipment. It alone weighs about 50 pounds. The airlines have a fixed rate on golf bags, however, of only $4. Good thing for golf pros. But I still encountered a slight problem.
Check-in man: You will have to pick up your clubs in San Francisco and re-check them to Monterey.
Me: No, I won't. You can check them all the way. Ask the supervisor.
Supervisor: Sorry, we can't do it.
Me: Yes, you can. Look it up in your manual.
Supervisor (after checking): By gosh, we can. Sorry, my mistake.
So the 1964 golf tour—Jack Nicklaus version—starts with me having an argument with an airline. Then, coming into San Francisco, where it was rainy and cold, I got something else to think about. My hip began to hurt. I could not help thinking that it was in San Francisco that all my hip trouble started last year. I don't believe tour golfers are hypochondriacs, like some people say. But you'd worry, too, if an ache could cost you money. Otherwise our flight to the West Coast was uneventful (who likes an eventful flight?).
We were greeted at the Monterey airport by Mark McCormack, my lawyer-agent. He drove us over to the Del Monte Lodge, where we had reservations. Great rooms. Just behind the 18th green of the Pebble Beach course and right on the ocean.
It was too late to get supper at the Lodge, so we went to a small downtown restaurant to eat. Terrible. I managed about one bite of a fish the manager said was fresh. Could he have misjudged by a month? Or had I gotten used to family meals?