As the tournament unfolds all around the Del Monte Lodge, there is a place where one can get to know most of the amateurs. The Snake Pit, they call it. Actually, it is the suite of Bill Worthing, one of the oldtime friends of everybody, and into it comes practically anybody of importance—singers, comedians, pals of Nixon, the damp, haggard, course-whipped troopers in search of a drink, a fireplace and a golf joke they haven't heard since yesterday.
An insurance executive, Bill Worthing has been in about as many Crosbys as anybody. He feels obligated to appear, if for no other reason than to host the Pit and give everyone a place to dry off. "if these walls could talk," he says.
The walls can't, but the folks do. Waiters enter carrying 17 glasses of milk and sandwiches for the drop-ins, closely followed by people like Jim Vickers, the oilman from Wichita, Kans., who glances at TV and tells Bing to "get off" so he can tell the room about the two-two he made at Cypress.
"The Pit's closing," says Bill Worthing. "Nobody I know made the cut."
"Step up," says Vickers. "I want to talk about my back-to-back twos."
Nobody listens. Crowds mill in, children, couples, to stare at Mickey Mantle and Don Drysdale and Clint Eastwood. Ray Floyd enters to discuss his 66 at Pebble Beach. Phil Rodgers enters with Floyd's sister, a cute blonde.
Arnold Palmer is on television moving into contention. "Quiet," somebody says. "It's the magician."
Palmer birdies the hole and Harry Lillis Crosby is thrilling the audience with his mystifying expertise. "Well, old Dino's gonna have hisself a Gibson down there on the rocks at 17," says the Old Groaner. "Hit it quail high on the old persimmon and chip it up on the alpaca with a Foot Joy. That's the way to string it out on the old alligator with the cashmere double bogey. Rattle the cuperino at the old Crosby. Yowser."
The room empties. Off to other parties. All around 17-Mile Drive steaks are being charcoaled, lobsters dropped in pots and attention paid to ladies with puppies in their purses who spin fascinating tales about the grand days of Cypress Point.