MacPhail returned in a few minutes looking as if he had just heard a rumor that the NFL was going to merge with the AFL. He smiled and slowly sat down. "Guess what Schneider wanted?" he said.
"I'm sure he didn't want to know why Jensen called himself a correspondent," said Dolph.
MacPhail said, "I just told him it was a conspiracy involving some foreign powers, and the CIA would furnish us all with a full report."
Back on the panel of 14 screens before Chirkinian, the tournament was tightening up. The leaders were creeping into view in this corner and that. This is when a director ages. He is likely to have two or three key dramas at hand, and, of course, he can show only one at a time. The trick is knowing the sport and the tendencies of the athletes—exactly how long Nicklaus is likely to putt, when Palmer will drive, how much study Sanders will give to a chip. A director cannot be caught showing Arnie hitching up his trousers when Casper is pulling off the bunker shot that wins the championship. At least, a director can't do it too often and stay a director.
Chirkinian seemed to be doing remarkably well in spite of the periodic irritant of Roland Vance shouting something like, "Two minutes past ideal commercial!"
To Bob Daley, Frank said, "Bobby, you'd better whip your boys a little. We got a hell of a tournament here and they sound like they're asleep."
He went to Whitaker.
"A little more schmaltz, Jack, on the tightness of the race." Frank then over-dramatized his voice and mimicked someone that highly amused MacPhail and Dolph. "Believe me, folks, you could cut the tension here with a hot butterknife."
And then to Whitaker he said, "Don't say that, for God's sake." The truck swayed gently with the laughter.
There was hardly any time to enjoy the frivolity. A crucial moment was approaching. Jack Nicklaus had come to the 18th tee and Arnold Palmer was back on the 16th, both of them struggling to catch the current leader, Gay Brewer Jr. The audio picked up a devastating whack as Nicklaus drove into the woods. The camera caught Palmer's shot biting into the 16th green and curling toward the flag.