It was quiet in the locker room. "Boy those crowds are something!" I said. "I don't suppose you ever get used to them."
He sat down on the bench and scaled off his golfing glove. The quietness was almost palpable and his voice was very loud in it. "There's one woman here who embarrasses me half to death—she's always yelling these little endearments, 'darling,' 'lover boy,' 'sweetie.' I come down the fairway thinking about my next shot and I suddenly hear her bellow out of the gallery, 'Go, lover!' It's not the best thing for your concentration."
"Are there people who follow you from tournament to tournament?"
"Yeah, yeah," he said, the honking voice somewhat mournful, I thought, and I said to myself, oh my, this is familiar country and dull....
"There is a doctor from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania," he was saying. "He turns up at every tournament. He's retired, I think, getting on toward 80 years old by now, and he's always there—Japan, Australia—and I'll be walking through the hotel in one of those places—Melbourne, Kyoto, I don't care where—and there he'll be, eating a steak, alone, in a corner."
Someone, a locker-room attendant I suppose, handed him a pack of letters. He removed a rubber band and began opening them, scanning them quickly and setting the ones he wanted to keep on the bench beside him. The others, the trash mail I assumed, he crumpled and dropped on the floor.
I was going to launch the question about dreams, but I thought better of it and asked about advice—did any of his admirers, golfers or not, the people who yelled "Sweetie," with all that concern they had for him to win, did any of them come up with advice?
Palmer looked up from his mail and said that a guy once told him that he was catching his elbows on a rather loose sweater he was wearing.
"But you know it's against the rules to accept information from people on the golf course."
"I didn't know," I said.