Hopkins told Corcoran to take it, and Corcoran has. At first nobody wanted it except the major corporations that came in as sponsors, but now at least 15 countries a year beg to be the host. It is possible for the World Cup to go just about anywhere and have as smoothly run a tournament as the PGA National Golf Club staged last week, with flags flying and dozens of members out helping the Libyans find their shots in the deep rough.
A little over a decade ago the Melbourne sponsors thought they could stage the event without caddies, suggesting that everybody in the field use a pull cart. The problem was solved when Corcoran produced 100 handbooks explaining the art of caddying. The Royal Melbourne club distributed them to the university from which the caddies would be hired. "They called the pros mister, which was a first," said Corcoran, and they turned out to be excellent, on a par, for instance, with Nicklaus' caddie last week, an unemployed Ph.D. from Argentina.
It was three years ago in Rome when a little golfer named Paul Tomita showed up from Rumania. It was his first time out of the country in 31 years. He played nine holes on the third day and stood proudly while the Rumanian flag was raised with those of the other nations. Last week he was in Palm Beach, announcing he would start the tournament with a golf ball President Nixon had given him. Everybody was touched, but a few wondered why Tomita would want to put a cut in something so treasured, because he was going to shoot a 90.
One day during the tournament Corcoran stood gazing at the scoreboard where an assortment of 90s and 80s were being posted by all kinds of golfers of varying sizes, and he remembered what one of the Indonesians had said to him in Australia after the two-man team had borrowed clubs and shoes and then hung up a pair of 99s.
"He said he wasn't too disappointed in his round because he spent most of his time teaching golf instead of playing," said Corcoran.
For all of this, the World Cup always manages to produce some startlingly good golf among the 20 to 30 excellent players who are present. As it happens, the Americans have far from dominated the play over the years. A lot of different countries have won it, and only Nicklaus' blazing performance last week kept his house guest, Player, along with Player's partner, Harold Henning, from winning the championship for South Africa.
Jack shot rounds of 68, 69, 63 and 71, and he and Trevino won by 12 strokes. Nicklaus took the individual title by seven strokes. Lee, ever gracious, finished with a 69 and said, "I got off Jack's back and played a little golf myself for a change. He's carried me for three days."
If you want to count trophies for the year, Nicklaus' individual and the team title he shared with Trevino moved him one up on Trevino for titles won in 1971. Let's count. The team victory gives Trevino seven when added to those for the U.S. Open, British Open, Canadian Open, Memphis, Tallahassee and Sahara. Nicklaus has eight, including the PGA, Byron Nelson Classic, Tournament of Champions, National Team Championship with Arnold Palmer and the two in Australia.
Nicklaus played so superbly that Trevino tried only to stay out of his way. When Jack shot the record 63—with the small ball, but who cares?—on Saturday, he would rap a putt and say to Lee, "Go get it," when the ball was only halfway to the cup, and Trevino would almost beat the ball to the hole.
For those who might be amazed at how Nicklaus could get fired up over winning a tournament that would only pay him $1,000, Jack had the answer. "I bought $700 worth of tickets and a $300 sponsorship, so I had to win it to break even." He smiled.