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There is now an almost subconscious thought that sticks with me. Phoenix win or no, my game is still not ready for the Masters. Eight weeks to get it in shape.
TWO WEEKS OFF, AND TWO LOST KINGS
For the first few days after our return we stayed in Columbus, fretting in our old house and gazing at the new, which is nearly finished. We should move in around the beginning of May.
On Friday I drove over to Cincinnati to look in at the MacGregor company plant. With a company executive, Leon Nelson, T took complete measurements of the set of clubs I am using now because a second set I had ordered felt different and I wanted to find out why. It turned out I was right. The new ones were slightly flatter in the face, so I had them adjusted and a new set made up.
On Saturday, February 15 we took off for Fort Lauderdale, Fla. My dad met us at the airport there, and we were out on the ocean fishing even before Barb had a chance to start unpacking. Caught nothing. That evening we drove up to the harness track in Pompano Beach for the races.
The next day my Dad and I joined two Columbus friends, Pandel Savic, a former All-Conference quarterback at Ohio State, and Dave Templeton, captain of the team in 1948, for golf at Coral Ridge. I played just terribly. I am beginning to be a little concerned. During the next two days I fished, played golf, and then we all went up to Pompano in the evening. Had a good day on the ocean Monday, catching two kingfish and five barracuda. The next time you want a ghoulish sort of thrill, hook a barracuda and pull him over the side. Ugh! On Wednesday I drove down to Miami and met Charlie Alexander of Zebco, Brunswick's fishing subsidiary, and made a few calls on some of his customers. We met a lot of dealers and picked up some fishing equipment. I came back with a boatload of the stuff. I used some of it to fish the next day and then drove up to Pine Tree Golf Club in Delray Beach for golf with Ted Kroll. Pine Tree is a great course. If I could play it every day I would really get sharp. I hit the ball well off the tee and off the fairway, but was my usual self on the greens. Set the course record for a professional with a 67. After the round we had some refreshments in the locker room and Kroll, who has been playing the tour successfully for a long time, gave me some good putting advice. "No matter what else you do," he said, "you have got to work out some sort of consistent system. It must be something that you can practice and something that you can rely on to repeat for you under tournament pressure." This made sense. I have got to get a system.
I was due at the house at 6:30 p.m. because a lot of friends were coming over, and we were all going out for dinner. I did not get there until 8:30. Barbara met me with a look of some exasperation.
The next day I played an exhibition with Palmer, and on Saturday afternoon I met Lew Worsham, the head pro at Oakmont in Pittsburgh and at Coral Ridge, and we drove up to Orlando for some quail shooting. Del Miller, the harness driver, trainer and owner, and some friends lease a 12,000-acre spread that is way back in the Florida bush. Had dinner with Del, Lew and Pirate Scout Rex Bowen, then drove on to a lodge where we spent the night. Bobcats all over the road. We were up early the next morning. In the front yard there were armadillos running loose, wild pigs and about 70 quail, plus raccoons in all the trees. A hunter's paradise. We drove back into the bush in a jeep that followed a group of hunting dogs, and bagged our limit of quail pretty quick. Got back to Fort Lauderdale around midnight after one of the most varied and enjoyable hunting trips I have ever been on.
Mother was flying back to Columbus Monday afternoon, but Dad and I got in a little fishing before driving her to the airport. We caught two four-pound kings. Just right for eating. While I was washing down the boat Jackie came out on the dock to watch. Suddenly I heard a splash. I turned just in time to see one of the kings heading for the bottom and Jackie laughing. "No, no, no," I yelled, but he picked up the other one and threw that in, too. We had fished all morning, and in a few seconds Jackie had tossed our entire catch into the canal. He thought it was the funniest thing he had ever done.
We had plenty of eating consolation that night. Lew came over with our quail, all cooked, and another friend brought 10 pounds of stone crabs. We must have been the only people in the country that night eating stone crabs for an appetizer and quail for the main course.