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THREE WAS A CROWD
Alfred Wright
April 18, 1966
But the crowd, which had been more of a mob through four high-scoring, hectic days, finally was reduced to just one man. In a three-way playoff Jack Nicklaus proved again that he is master of the Masters
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April 18, 1966

Three Was A Crowd

But the crowd, which had been more of a mob through four high-scoring, hectic days, finally was reduced to just one man. In a three-way playoff Jack Nicklaus proved again that he is master of the Masters

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Hogan was asked to explain his surprising success this year at the age of 53. Was he driving the ball farther? "No," he said. "I think some of the other fellows are backing up a bit." Then he smiled. "Maybe they're getting older. I know Arnold isn't driving it nearly as far as he used to. As a matter of fact, he didn't swing nearly as hard today as he usually does. How about that, Arnold?" Ben asked, turning to Palmer, who had finished his own interview and was standing among the reporters listening to Hogan. "How come you didn't swing harder today?"

"I wanted to keep it on the fairway with you," Palmer replied, and the way he said it one knew he meant it.

Someone asked Hogan how he felt about playing in front of Arnie's Army. "I think they're just golf fans," he answered. "Arnie takes a lot of chances, and that's why they're always trying to key him on to do something that's next to impossible."

Asked to appraise his own game, Hogan said, "I've had my problems judging distance and selecting clubs. I'm usually pretty good at selecting clubs and choosing shots, so maybe it's because I haven't been playing enough competitive golf. And I've had problems going downwind. I can't attribute all that to lush lies. I guess it requires a little more skill than I have at the moment. The fellows who have that skill aren't having the same trouble."

Then Hogan said something that was obviously from the heart. "I want to apologize to Arnold for having to watch me go through the jitters out there on the putting greens. I'm very sorry. I really am."

"Ben," asked a reporter, "are you satisfied with your showing so far?"

"I have to accept it," Hogan replied. "But I'm not satisfied."

Many of the reporters in the room would have been happy to see a Hogan victory, yet they realized the chances were slight; when all the scores were in on Saturday there were still six players grouped at the top, just two strokes apart. One shot behind Nicklaus and Jacobs came Don January at 217, while a stroke behind him were Palmer, Hogan and Brewer. Furthermore, four more players were just one shot behind them. Palmer called it the most unusual Masters he had seen. It was also one of the closest.

The tournament became even closer when Doug Sanders, three strokes behind as the final round began, birdied the first hole. But after that Sanders, now dressed in fire-engine red, was unable to sink the putts he needed and dropped back. As usual, the leaders were paired together, so that Palmer went out with Brewer, Jacobs with January, and Nicklaus with Hogan. Poor Ben. His play for three rounds had been magnificent, but it was apparent almost immediately in the final round that his putting was too shaky to let him win. January also played himself out of contention early in the round.

As Hogan and January were falling back, Gay Brewer went rushing into the lead, shooting a 33 on the front nine. Despite a peculiar loop at the top of his backswing, Brewer, when he is on his game, drives the ball nearly as far as Nicklaus, hits accurate irons and putts superbly. That is exactly the way he was playing in the final round, working his way to the front and then keeping one or two strokes between himself and his pursuers throughout the latter part of the afternoon.

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