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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
It always took a little push to get oneself to interview the superstars. One stared, and hung around the fringes of the crowds, and among the hangers-on, and there was always the excuse that the stars were bothered enough. But finally it had to be done....
Jack Nicklaus was sitting in the clubhouse restaurant. A mutual friend introduced us. I was taken aback by his voice. It is high and sharp—something quite tough about it, and assured, and yet it turned out he could josh with others and about himself easily and without being arch. When I was introduced he motioned me to a chair and, to ease me into the conversation, he said that the group at the table had been talking about superstitions among athletes
I said that was a fine topic and one which had always interested me.
Had I any? he wanted to know.
Well, no, I said. I was too scared to have them, at least any serious ones, because they were apt to be time-consuming Sidewalk cracks, I said, I avoided them.
"The bears get you," he said.
I said I hadn't meant to interrupt. Had he been talking about his own superstitions?
"Oh, anyone's," he said. " Leo Diegel was one of the great players of the 20s—the guy who invented the elbows-out style of putting—and he had the superstition that he was invincible in the state of Maryland. He believed no one could ever beat him there, and he was upset, hell, understandably, when they never scheduled the Open there."
"That oldtimer, Long Jim Barnes?" someone said. "He used to look for clovers, and if he found one he'd keep it in his mouth right through the round."