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Jack Nicklaus, that mere shadow of a man, was not considered a good bet to take the Hawaiian Open last week. Even though Nicklaus had won his last two tournaments—the Sahara and the Kaiser—this one was a course of another choler. On Thursday, Lee Trevino, last year's winner, had looked at the palm trees swaying under the 40-mile trade winds and told everyone that there was no way Nicklaus could play well in that gale. "I'll even give him a shot a side," said Trevino, who is one of the game's best wind players. Trevino, of course, was also figuring on the possibility that wispy Jack would not even make it through the wind to the 1st tee.
Nicklaus made it to the 1st tee all right and shot a 63—a record nine under par—on that first day. Then the trade winds died down, and Jack's game seemed to die with them. He played the next three rounds in only one under par, while the asocial Aussie, Bruce Crampton, riding the calm, made up nine shots on Jack in the third round to take the lead and then win the tournament by four strokes with a steady 5-under-par 67 on Sunday.
Although he did not become the second golfer to win SI million on the tour, something that will have to wait a few more weeks, Nicklaus was happy with his 63 in that first round. And the fact that Jack, normally a painfully slow player, took only three hours to do it was of some solace to the rest of the pros, who do not call the Hawaiian Open the Mai Tai Festival for nothing. They all realized that the faster they played the sooner they could have a mai tai ("the best" in the Hawaiian language) in their overlapping grips, a bathing suit on their bodies and an open stance in the waters around Waikiki.
The mai tai, a concoction guaranteed to make any losing golfer a sure winner, goes like this: start with half an ounce of orgeat syrup. Add half an ounce of orange cura�ao, an ounce of fresh lemon juice and two ounces of rum. Toss in a sprig of fresh mint, a stick of fresh sugar cane, a slice of Vanda orchid, a slice of lemon, a slice of lime and a few spears of fresh pineapple. Pour it all over some cracked ice in a glass. Now insert a 6�-inch straw. Ahh, there you have it. Drink.
Then you relax and enjoy like Arnold Palmer, who signed more autographs in his Arnold Palmer bathing suit (the only solid-color suit to be seen in Hawaii since the island was discovered by Northwest Airlines) than he did in his Arnold Palmer golf clothes. There was the social whirl, too, for those who wanted it. These arrangements were handled by two experienced planners, Bob Anderson, a 10-handicapper who is the owner (with Phil Linz) of Mr. Laffs pub on New York's East Side, and Joe Carr, a six-year regular on the tour. Anderson, a bachelor, worked exclusively with the married couples, like the Tom Weiskopfs and the Bert Yanceys—directing them to the best restaurants, the best shows, like Morgana King at the Outrigger—the best of everything. Carr, also a bachelor, played host to the young single players at Keone's, a swinging place run by a golf nut named Johnny Uyehara. Carr, who is from Worcester, Mass., was sponsored by Keone's and Uyehara for almost a year on the tour.
Last year on a Mai Tai night Carr even arranged a wedding for one of his tour friends, Jim Grant, who called his girl in Chicago and told her to get the first flight to Hawaii. "Barring late developments, I don't think we'll have any marriages this year," Carr said on the last day of the tournament.
Unlike most of the players at the Mai Tai, Jack Nicklaus avoided the socializing and concentrated mainly on his suddenly revitalized golf game. When he left for Hawaii after winning the playoff for the Kaiser tournament, Jack expected that his wife and two of his four children would join him in Hawaii at the end of the week. Then the entire family came down sick. Jack almost withdrew from the Mai Tai before it started, to head home and see how things were.
After Jack's great round on that first day, when he had a four-stroke lead, he talked about his putting. "I missed only one putt all day," he said. "And I couldn't understand the one I missed. I was making the 45-and 50-footers and then missed that little 15-footer." Then he laughed and was shaking his head as he walked away.
Later that afternoon Nicklaus met Palmer on the beach.
"Quite a round you had," Arnold told him.