"How about that chip on 8?"
"That was a good shot," Aaron agrees, saying all that can be said: that if the chip had not dropped, his total score would be at least one higher than it was, and low score wins.
But if finding crucial holes or shots is a big thing with golf writers, so is getting a line on the players' psyches. "O.K., Tommy," the writer now asks. "You're sitting on a two-stroke lead. Do you like your position?"
"Well," says Aaron, "I guess I like it all right. I'm two strokes ahead. They have to come after me." The reporter nods knowingly, as if he had asked a tricky question to which there were many possible answers and Aaron had figured it out right.
At the 1970 Masters it happened that two golfers, Casper and Littler, tied for the lead after four rounds and had to play off the following day. On Sunday afternoon the assembled journalists pulled out all stops in their session with the competitors.
"I have a question for both of you," one asked. "You know each other's games pretty well. How are you going to play it tomorrow?" (Load your lineup with left-handers, go to the long pass early, stay off the pace for the first quarter mile, hit a lot of lobs?)
Casper and Littler looked at each other wonderingly for a brief moment, but they are old pros. "I guess I'll tee it low and let it go," Casper answered first, and Littler chimed in behind, "I'm going to tee it high and let it fly."
The scribes, who are easily amused in such circumstances, howled with laughter. It was a pretty good exchange at that, being if nothing else a funny two-line commentary on contemporary golf literature and metaphysics.
The Longest Day
There is something in the final round that makes it the best thing about the Masters or golf. Take, for example, the 16th green on Sunday last year. There were perhaps 3,000 people packed together there, a solid cusp of humanity, and scattered about were half a hundred cops. Above the crowd rose a manned television tower. Flanking the green was an enormous scoreboard that showed four men with a chance to win the tournament, being within a stroke of each other after 68 or 69 holes.