APRIL 20, Dallas—I backed our two-year-old station wagon up to the door of our home in Louisville yesterday morning and loaded up. I dumped my golf bag in the well, then stacked five suitcases across the back, one for me, one for Patty, one for Danny, one for Randi and a little one for the baby, Jennifer. I tossed in my shoes, a bag of toys, a bassinette, a box of Pampers, a few bottles of Enfamil, some road maps and a bag of sandwiches, cookies, candy and Cokes. Then we spread out a blanket in the back for Danny and Randi to play on, piled all the children into the car and took off for the pro golf tour.
As we were pulling out of our driveway, I turned to Patty and said, "Could you imagine Arnie or Jack traveling like this?" They probably flew over us in their private planes on their way to Dallas.
APRIL 21—First thing this morning I looked at the newspaper to see how Arnie did in the Tournament of Champions. He stuck it to me. He finished strong, tied for third place and won $10,000. Now he's almost $5,000 ahead of me in our race for the final exemption for the U.S. Open [a qualifying exemption based on the money list]. The only way I can possibly overtake him is by finishing in the top three here in the Byron Nelson Classic. I'm going to give it a run, but I'm not overconfident. I haven't placed in the top three in any tournament in almost nine months.
After breakfast I went out to the Preston Trail Golf Club, one of the most beautiful courses we'll play all year, and I ran into Charlie Coody and his wife, Lynette. I told Charlie how hard I was pulling for him to win the Masters.
"I had it all locked up," he said. "All I had to do was finish and it was mine." Charlie shook his head.
He seemed a little downhearted, but he didn't look like he was going to cut his throat or anything. Then he went in to register, and Lynette told me Charlie really took it a lot harder than he was showing. "It just wasn't like him," she said. "He looked and acted as if he'd been horsewhipped. I never saw him like that before. I almost wish he'd never had a taste of the chance to win. I know he's man enough to throw it off, but right now he wakes up every morning with a little scar on his face, and I can't help but see it."
APRIL 22—I can't remember the last time I dreamed about golf—or anything else, for that matter—but this morning I woke up with a nightmare. In my dream I couldn't make a putt. I couldn't get the ball to the hole. I don't know why. I was hitting them straight. But the ball wouldn't go in the hole. It was the worst dream I've ever had in my life. I guess my putting's bothering me more than I'll admit—and I'll admit it's bothering me plenty.
APRIL 24—The last person I saw before I teed off today was Arnie. By coincidence, he drew a starting time for today and tomorrow right behind mine. As I walked to the first tee, Arnie gave me a look and one of his majestic grins, like he was saying, "Well, buddy, did I put it to you last week at the Tournament of Champions? I'm down here to beat you out of that U.S. Open spot."
We played the back nine first, and the crucial hole for me was the second one I faced, the 11th, a par-3 with water running along the right side of the green. I decided early this week that I was going to gamble a little and go after holes like this instead of shying away from them. I got up on the tee and I knew that if my swing didn't come off just right I was going to smack the ball into the water. It was a psychological challenge. I aimed right at the edge of the water, and my shot held the line and came up eight feet from the cup. I knocked it in for a deuce. For 16 holes I was two under par, but then I lost my concentration and finished bogey-bogey for an even-par 70. Arnie came in a few minutes later with a 69.
The king doesn't let up.