July 6, Grand Blanc, Mich.—It's been so long since I've won a tournament I don't know how I'd feel if it finally happened. I'd probably be so numb I wouldn't get any pleasure out of it. I'm not dejected. I'm more—I guess you'd say—lost. I went to the office today and did my job well, but I didn't prove anything, even though I finished second in the Buick Open and won $14,300. I can't win anything but money. And—I never thought I'd say this—maybe money isn't enough.
July 10, Minneapolis—I'm a big star this week. Aaron, Sikes, Stockton and I are the co-favorites to win the Minnesota Classic. We're the kings. We're the Palmer, Nicklaus, Casper and Player of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Still, when I woke up this morning, I didn't want to go to the golf course. I wanted to sleep or swim or do almost anything except play golf. After four holes I was two over par, and for the first time in a long, long time I felt myself hoping that I'd miss the cut. But I shot 69, two under par.
Out of the top 20 money-winners from last year, only five of us are here—Dan Sikes, Dave Stockton, Tommy Aaron, Bob Lunn and me. Out of the field of 144, judging from the names I saw today, there are a hundred fellows you could line up in front of me and I wouldn't know one from another. Calling this a weak field is an understatement. But a victory here would sure beat no victory at all.
I might as well confess right now that I've given up on my diet completely. I don't know exactly what I weigh. Somewhere around 200, I guess. I don't know anymore whether I walk or roll or bounce. I do know one thing. I'm drained. I told Patty, "I don't know what a mental breakdown feels like, but I think I'm having one." I have absolutely no motivation. I don't want to play golf tomorrow.
July 11—Before I left the motel this morning, I told Patty, "Honey, if I get close to missing the cut, I'm gonna miss it. I really don't give a damn. I'm ready to take a couple of days off."
I teed off and, I'll tell you, I don't think I could have missed the cut if I'd tried. I couldn't play badly. Every time I stood on the tee, I knew I was going to hit the ball down the middle. Every time I got out on the fairway, I knew I was going to knock my iron shot next to the hole. Every time I lined up a putt, I knew I was going to make it. I shot the easiest 67 I ever shot in my life. Stockton's leading the tournament at 135, Sikes and I are both at 136 and Aaron's at 139. So far, the big stars are holding up.
Mason Rudolph, my partner, was moving along three under par today on the front nine, and then he started to three-putt and lost all his confidence. Mase is literally battling for his life. He was exempt for about 10 years, really one of the top players on the tour, but for the past year and a half he hasn't been able to pull his game together, much less win a tournament. If he misses the top 60 again—he missed last year—his career is basically finished, at the age of 35. It's strange, but seeing the trouble Mase is in kind of picked me up today. I know that I could be in his situation without hardly any warning. It made me a little more determined.
July 12—For the fifth day in a row, despite all my determination last night, I woke up not wanting to go to the golf course. I wasn't teeing off until 1:30, so I had plenty of time to sit by the pool with the kids and relax. I kept thinking how nice it'd be to spend the rest of the day at the pool. I didn't feel any pressure. I wasn't running scared the way I have been. It was almost like, "Well, I've got to go play today, so the hell with it. I'll just go out and accept whatever happens."
What I needed was something to charge me up, and as soon as I reached the course I got it. A television man started harassing me. Reporters have been on us all week, complaining about how there aren't any big-name players here and how all the pros are bums because we won't patronize their tournament. Well, there were only 14 men in the world who earned $100,000 playing golf last year, and four of us—Sikes, Stockton, Lunn and me—are here, and that's not so bad. We may not be the biggest names in the world, but we deserve at least a little credit. I really got mad.
Just before I teed off, Sikes came up to me and said, "Look, Frank, I hope you or I or Dave or Tom win this thing just to shut these people up a little." That gave me more determination.