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If it was, that was too bad, because Brewer missed the putt. He was now in a tie with Tommy Jacobs for the championship, and Nicklaus, who had just picked up another birdie, only had to par the last two holes to make it a three-way playoff.
Nicklaus played quite deliberately down that stretch—including the dramatic miss of a three-foot birdie putt on 17—and this enabled Chirkinian to prepare for the big finish on the final green.
"I want to really hear that sound," he said. "When Nicklaus comes up the fairway near the green, I want to hear the crowd. I want some emotion. This is a hell of a finish.... This guy may birdie the hole, and I want reactions.... I may have a reaction.... Who's got Nicklaus in the pool anyhow?"
Nicklaus had a tremendously long birdie putt on the last green to win. It seemed that a playoff was assured, but Chirkinian wanted a buildup.
"Jack," he said to his anchor man, "there's Brewer and Jacobs, watching on the edge of the green. They have no other recourse but to watch, right?...Wait, don't repeat that."
Chirkinian wheeled around in the truck, giggling at himself. He glanced at MacPhail. "My resignation will be on your desk tomorrow morning," he said.
Nicklaus hit a beautiful putt that barely twisted away from the cup, dying at the last faint second amid chaotic shouts of, "Take one, take five, take three," from the director and the agonizing groan of the gallery on the audio.
As nearly all 18-hole playoffs in golf are, Monday's was anticlimactic, especially when compared to the roaring finish of the previous day. CBS was on the air before the players had reached camera range at the 14th green, and when they eventually got there Nicklaus held a two-stroke lead over Jacobs, while Gay Brewer was playing like Chirkinian. This meant the show had quite a bit of fill in it. But Chirkinian made the most of some taped replays from Sunday and of stop-action on Nicklaus' swing, and Middlecoff gave several playing lessons. Not perfect, but good enough.
At one point after the competitors had traipsed into view, Chirkinian got annoyed by a couple of camera shots. One had been an intimate closeup of a spectator's hand. "What's this?" Frank bellowed. "I want Jacobs, and you gimme a hand?" The other had been a rear view of an official who had marched into the middle of a fairway to observe Nicklaus' approach to the 17th. "That's it," Frank said. "You just get right out there, and we'll swing along down to Wall Street together."