"He asked me if I was scared," says JoAnne. "I said that although I hated even the word, that I would admit that I didn't trust my swing and I guessed that was a form of being scared."
They talked until 2 a.m. about aggressive thinking and enjoying the game and how to practice. Martin pointed out that because she was practicing in the mornings before her rounds, JoAnne was bringing her analyzing frame of mind onto the course with her.
"He told me that you just can't shut it off as soon as you begin to play," she recalls. "He said I should just warm up, hit 15 or 20 balls to loosen my muscles before I play and do my analyzing afterward. He said that then I should go to work with specifics in mind, like bad fairway woods or poor eight-irons. Now Don and I talk over the round, decide what I should work on and then I might hit as few as two buckets or as many as nine, like I did in Las Vegas. And it was 105� there."
In the meantime, JoAnne put herself on a diet. She is five feet seven and looks taller. She has always had a big frame, but over the last few years she had put on so much weight that her girlish appearance had turned almost matronly. By eliminating breakfast and lunch and Cokes on the course for more than seven months she has taken off 35 pounds. Her big, direct blue eyes have emerged as the face around them has receded. She still will not say what she weighs, but she will say that it is less than Don for a change and that it is about time.
Carner's winning streak began in May with the Bluegrass Invitational in Louisville and continued through two of the next three tournaments—the Hoosier Classic in Indiana and the Desert Inn Classic. In July she went back to Dickinson for one more day-long lesson and won again in mid-August in St. Paul. Then came Dallas and Portland both in September.
At Sacramento she finished tied for fourth, picking up only $1,700, and her dream of becoming golf's first $100,000 woman just about vanished. If she fails to make it, it is more a reflection on LPGA purses than her year-long performance. Her six wins, transposed to the men's tour, would surely have brought her more than $200,000.
Now JoAnne is back on the practice tee and Don is watching her. Her drives have been veering right all day and he spots the fault in her position at address.
"You keep that right side down," he says. "When you get that right hip down there you look so damn good."
Soon the shots she has been pulling start to straighten out and she is obviously beginning to enjoy herself.
She moves quickly through all her clubs. Everything is working right.