You didn't know what?
"The Masters was a comeback for me in a sense. I'd been a year without winning a major championship. I was fourth at Augusta last year, 10th in the Open, third in the British Open and second in the PGA. That's pretty good. But I lost all four. Frankly, there were times through all that when I was wondering about myself. I was wondering about my ambition and my sheer ability to strike and control a golf ball when I had to."
If you lose at Medinah, will you start wondering again?
"A year is a success for me when I've won one major championship. That's why last year was such a failure. No, I'll be just as up for the British Open and the PGA. You know, I love the four majors so much, I can see myself playing in them just because of the atmosphere long after I'm unable to win them."
How did you put yourself back to work? Or, rather, what did you do when Johnny Miller put you back to work?
"I really did work harder than anytime since I was a kid. The first thing I did was mostly mental. I would hit practice balls and think about what I wanted to achieve, ideally, with my swing. I found an old driver I had that I liked, so I started hitting with it and discovered that I was driving straighter than I ever had. Shorter but straighter. Then in Florida I found a sand wedge I loved, one similar to the club I'd always used, but better. This helped the chipping, which has always been a problem for me. So I had a driver and sand wedge that gave me tremendous confidence. For a few weeks there, including Augusta, I just felt like I had total control over the golf ball."
Anything else mentally? Like conjuring up images of Johnny Miller in a concrete rainsuit?
"I became determined to put golf first. For example, in the past I've always gone to the office and then to the golf course in the afternoon. I started thinking one day, heck, I'm taking the business problems to the golf course. This year I started going to the golf course first, and then to the office, if there was time."
O.K., now you're winning the Masters and you're in total "control" of the golf ball. Where'd you scare up that sloppy 73 on Saturday which turned the whole thing into a golf tournament?
" Arnold Palmer and I were paired. It's strange but true that neither Arnold nor I generally score well when we play together. One reason, obviously, is that we don't like to lose to each other. We get caught up in a match-play frame of mind. We also get caught up in the yelling and screaming match between our galleries. Well, they certainly got their money's worth. I shot a 73 and Arnold shot a 75. Somewhere else out on the course, Johnny Miller was shooting a 65, and Tom Weiskopf was shooting 66."