The professional golfers were always practicing—dark, hunched shadows on the putting green when the sun was down, and sometimes, passing a motel door late at night, from the other side you could hear the click of a ball running up against a table leg. Often when they did not have a club in their hands they seemed to have a pulled, tormented mien that made one suspect they were playing endless practice shots in—as one golf writer graphically described it—the "domed driving ranges of their skulls."
Late one afternoon in the grill room of the Del Monte Lodge the name of Carl Lohren came up—a professional occasionally appearing on the tour who is famous for his practicing. He took every opportunity, apparently, even skipping out of his car to practice his swing when pulled up at a red light. "Why, there was this one time," one of the pros said, leaning forward to let his story rise above the hum of conversation all about, "when Lohren stepped out of the car at a railroad crossing in some hick town. His driving partner never heard him get out because of the noise of a freight going by—thought he was lying in the back seat asleep—and he went on without Lohren...just driving straight on for the Jacksonville Open, whatever it was...."
"What about...ah...?" I asked.
"Lohren? Well, he was left in the dust, looking off at the back of his car disappearing down the road, and then the noise of the train dying away, and it got awful quiet and there he was in this little town with his golf club—and that was all he had, not a dime, just a couple of tees in his pocket and a golf club."
"What did he do?"
"Well, he survived. I don't know the exact details. I suppose he went into a diner, y'know, and explained it to them...."
"Well, what do you think he could have said? Was he wearing golf shoes and a golf hat?" I asked illogically.
"I suppose he showed them the golf club and said, 'My car drove away' "—he suddenly sounded peeved. "Why should I know that. I didn't ask anybody. Everybody wants to know the damnedest things. I wasn't there, after all."
"No, no," I said. "It's just a fine little scene—a golfer with his club just dropped down there in the middle of nowhere, maybe some red-dirt town in Louisiana hundreds of miles from the nearest golf course, and the hillbillies in the diner looking up when he comes in...it's just such a fine scene for speculation."
"Yes," he said. He thought for a moment, and then he said again: "Well, he survived. I mean he got out of there."