Throughout the round Jack was relaxed and animated. A striking blonde in a tight purple jump suit trailed around for a few holes. Other galleryites speculated as to who she was; one concluded she might be Nicklaus' wife, but this was ruled out. She was clearly somebody. "It's true," she was heard to say, "he is better looking."
On the putting green the next morning Nicklaus exchanged greetings with Gardner Dickinson, then moved off to the practice range, taking a crowd with him. Gardner watched him go. "Jack works at it," he said. "Arnold always had that...charisma's the word they use. Jack didn't. He had to work at it, and he does. He stands out there for hours signing autographs and granting interviews. I wouldn't."
Dickinson, with a series of taps with his putter, arranged his practice balls in ready-to-fire order. "Jack missed an easy putt on me in Atlanta in that playoff in 1971," he said. "I hadn't won a tournament in a long time and he knew it, and it seemed to me he blew it intentionally. Out of friendship. There was a photograph afterward, showing me talking to him with my jaw out. I was saying, 'Dammit, Jack, you did that on purpose." But he said he didn't. And I know now he didn't, because he simply wouldn't. He's too honest a man."
That night, in the Nicklaus villa, Jack ordered in. Steak and salads all around. He skipped the salad dressing, also the rolls and butter.
It had been another in a series of rainy days in Ohio, one of those wet spells a man with the blues can really sink his teeth into. For three hours an unblue Jack Nicklaus had been trudging around the golf course, his uncovered head shining like a gaslight in the mist. It was not exactly a golf course yet, but it was well on its way. A lot of earth had been shoved around. In places the mud was gumbo, sucking at the feet of trespassers. A small squad of contractor-engineer types squished in Nicklaus' wake, looking not at all comfortable.
"Over there," Nicklaus said, sweeping his arm toward the arc of an embryo bunker-spectator area. "I hate to say it, but those two maples have to go." He pointed farther over. "If we're gonna move a gallery through it we'll have to slope it more. And that"—pointing at a mound of freshly bulldozed soil—"looks unnatural." An older man with a damp yellow pad pursed his lips and made notes.
Nicklaus continued around the course, gesturing to lengthen a water hazard, to expand a bunker, to narrow a green. "You agree?" He said to the man with the note pad. The man nodded and said yes, without enthusiasm.
"Yes, because I want it, or yes, because you agree? Don't agree with me if you don't agree."
The man smiled. "Yes, yes," he said.
Jack smiled back. "I've changed four holes around since this morning. Every time I come up here they shudder. I can't help it. I want it to be right. This is my ego trip."