"You have to take some chances out there," he explained. "I felt I had a good chance to get the ball out, so I went for it. It was one of those shots you need to invent from time to time."
It was also on Friday that Dave Hill moved into second with a 69 and then sat down and told the world how it was at Hazeltine. Hill is a much better golfer than comedian, but the press ate up his words because Dave is definitely not from the yep-nope school of golf pros. He does talk, and whether one agrees with him or not, he is fun to have in town. Hazeltine, he said, ought to be plowed up so somebody could build a golf course on it. And he went on about cows and cornfields and such—a stand-up comic routine—except the cover charge was $150.
When the PGA fined him for "conduct unbecoming," or whatever it was, Hill only shrugged and said, "With the fines I've paid I could put my kids through college." One or two pros giggled that Dave should write out the check for $300 because he'd say the same thing the next day.
Invigorating as it was to have Hill peering through his granny glasses at questioners and handling the role of American Golf Dissent 1970, it was also true that his ire reached the point of churlishness, almost as if he had found bomb-throwing was fun. The result was locker-room disorder the likes of which this grand old gentlemen's sport hasn't seen in decades. The never-say-a-naughty-word types lined up privately and strongly against Hill, while maintaining their usual—and thoroughly dreary—no-comment posture, but the more outspoken Gary Player simply blasted Hill openly for very bad manners.
Hill then gave Player's position some strength—and did golf no good at all—by not only sticking with his views on Hazeltine, which he was certainly entitled to do, but backhanding all of Great Britain for the pure hell of it. Asked if he was going to play in the British Open, he alluded to trouble he had had over a ruling at the Ryder Cup matches there last year and said, "If they ever found me over there again they'd know I died and somebody shipped my body to the wrong place."
"We will be relieved to know that we will not be pestered by his ill manners again," answered British Journalist Leonard Crawley. "He left a solid bad smell." And Britain's Henry Longhurst summed up Hill's Hazeltine comments briskly. "Monstrous impudence."
Yet Dave never let up. On Sunday, after he had finished second, he refused to go out for the award presentation because the crowd had heckled him with barnyard noises.
"What has the USGA ever done against you?" asked harassed P. J. Boatwright, USGA executive director and the man in charge of the Open. "They put the tournament on this course," answered Hill. Eventually Hill agreed to go out, and then told the crowd, which greeted him with scattered moos or boos, "If I couldn't moo like a cow better than you people, I would send [myself] to the slaughterhouse."
All very ancient and honourable.
For the spectators, Hill at least gave the tournament a villain, and they poured onto Hazeltine for Saturday's third round to find their mad dog and Englishman paired together. This offered the throngs a chance to become comedians themselves, and Hill first heard the whoops and calls in the gallery that sounded very much to him like mooing.