That's right, Byron, I said. Now back to you, Chris.
When you finish early you get to be the leader in the clubhouse for quite a long time. At The Desert Inn, I suppose I was the leader in the clubhouse for, oh, three or four hours. As a matter of fact, I was the leader in the clubhouse for so long that I finally started worrying that I might win.
There is no rule, of course, which says the leader in the clubhouse can't leave the clubhouse. So I went out on the course to watch Donna, Janie and Sandra Palmer throw the lead in the Sealy back and forth in pure melodramatic fashion. Hell of a tournament. They were each making one immense pressure shot after another while the Namaths and Campbells tried to stay out of the way.
Presently, after glancing at a scoreboard, I realized that I was a co-leader in the clubhouse. Although I had finished ahead of a split end, some guy from Petticoat Junction, another guy from Mod Squad, a fellow from Bracken's World, The Dating Game man, a couple of pro quarterbacks and the guy from The Hollywood Squares, I had suddenly been tied by Mr. Dithers, or an actor named Charles Lane.
Then it all fell apart. Namath, Mantle and Campbell went by me, and then here came Don Adams with 18 strokes and a couple of pretty fair partners in Sandra Haynie and Marlene Hagge. He would win by a stroke.
"You're tied for fifth in the clubhouse," my wife said.
The Sealy- LPGA Classic came down to the very last hole where Sandra Palmer, who had never won a tournament, held a one-stroke lead over Donna Caponi, directly behind her. As Sandra hit her second shot into a front bunker by the 18th green, Donna smashed a big drive down the fairway. Everybody figured it would go into sudden death.
I curiously found myself standing out there halfway up the fairway watching both, pulling for both; for my old friend Sandra from the old home town, the ex-college cheerleader whom I had first seen play when she was 14; and for my new friend. Donna, the dancer, in many ways the solidest player of all the girls.
My wife said, "You've got to admit this is pretty exciting."
Big deal, I said. Ten thousand dollars. Nicklaus gets that much for marking his ball.