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"You just tell Tuthill to show you that in the book," Hill replies hotly. "Mark my ball! Listen, not 10% of the field mark their balls. Three weeks before Palm Springs, Hubert Green had a ball stuck in a tree and the officials let him take an unplayable lie. It shows I'm so good the PGA thinks I can give the field two shots a side!"
Tuthill has further said that he did not learn about the business at the palm tree until a fellow who apparently was a spectator phoned the press tent after Hill's round and wondered why he took an unplayable lie.
"Spectator? Spectator, my foot!" says Hill. "I think it was somebody playing behind me, that's what I think. Yes—some Bible thumper!"
The very notion that his integrity was now suspect causes Hill's voice to reach a level that might bring Commissioner Dey at an angry trot all the way from his Manhattan office. Noting that the PGA has since begun posting notices warning players to mark their balls, Hill roars, "They've destroyed the meaning of the game. Sportsmanship no longer exists." Martinis around him teeter as Hill slams a table. "The integrity of the game no longer exists. Everybody's a crook. Oh, they've laid some stuff on me that's unreal. My 12 years out here have been fantastic."
As a matter of fact, Hill has a reputation for integrity, confirmed by Tuthill himself, that entitles him to be sensitive. Arnold Palmer's administrative assistant, Doc Giffin, recalls that in the 1964 Tournament of Champions Hill called a penalty stroke on himself when he easily could have escaped it. "He said the ball moved on him," Giffin remembers. "There was nobody near him except his caddie, and the caddie said, 'I didn't see the ball move.' I was struck by Dave's honesty, and I have never seen him do anything that did not reflect a great store of integrity." Giffin says this, even though Hill once caused Giffin's employer to be disqualified in the Crosby by raising a technical question that led officials to find Palmer guilty of hitting an illegal shot.
Not entirely without admirers, Hill often is followed down the fairways by long-haired young men and girls wearing tattered jeans. During last year's tempestuous U.S. Open, he marched across the nation's television screens wearing mod glasses, his hair flopping in the wind, and as a result the hippies and the college set inferred that golf at last had produced a player they could relate to. The dreary fact is, says Hill, that just before the Open he had felt in need of glasses and, with his golf game in mind, simply selected the broadest lenses he could find on the shelf. "I didn't even know they were called granny glasses," he says. And then, with one swift burst that drives his newly acquired cult of collegians and hippies into the cool distance alongside double-chinned PGA officials, Hill snaps, "Listen, don't get me started on them...." Lately Hill has taken to trying contact lenses.
Yes, Dave Hill, the Now Generation's golf rebel, happens to be an American Square, wedded to the quaint convictions that hard work is a virtue and that parents and elders ought to be honored. When as a 16-year-old amateur he won his first tournament match, lathering a 45-year-old man 8 and 7, he was so mortified for his victim, he says, that he wanted to run and hide.
His father, George Hill, supported a family of eight by simultaneously operating a small farm, working at a machine shop from 10 p.m. till 6:30 a.m. and delivering mail on a rural route till three in the afternoon. In the evening he would accompany his four sons to a golf course where, with darkness falling, he would train his automobile lights on the practice green so the boys could continue putting. Then he would buy them root beers and report for work at the machine shop. "That man probably averaged three hours' sleep a day for 10 years," says Hill. At age 58, George Hill died of emphysema. "I'd die tomorrow if they promised me I could see him," says Dave.
On the tour Hill looks around at the tanned young players, who in many cases have eased into tournament life from the local country club and the college golf team, and says, "These kids out here, they don't know." Hill started shagging balls at eight, caddied at 10, was a greenkeeper's night-shift hoseman at 15, worked in a machine shop, delivered mail and pumped gas, until at 21 he became assistant pro at the Elks Club course in Kalamazoo, Mich. at a salary of $45 a week plus room and board at the pro's house.
Nor is he the only Hill who made it to the golf tour the hard way. Mike Hill, two years Dave's junior, served a hitch as an airman second class, drove a beer truck, labored as a farmhand and slung tires in a Goodyear plant before he arrived on the tour at age 29 with the aid of a loan from Dave. Mike won more than $56,000 last year, including the Doral Open, and, following Dave's Hazeltine embroilment, was otherwise occupied ordering Dave's hecklers in the galleries to shut up or fight.