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"Yes, it is," said the official.
"Then I can drop right here," Pate said.
"No you can't," said the R and A.
"Why not?" Jerry asked.
"Because you've just been told you can't," said the R and A, and that was all there was to it.
When the experience was repeated on Friday, Pate lost his composure, made a double bogey, began kicking at the dust and then tried to see how badly he could play. He later made an 8, and four more double bogeys, and it called to mind that every young player has his rank side, and Jerry Pate's simply came out suddenly and uncontrollably.
That evening, as he sat laughing about his exhibition in the Prince of Wales, he was told that his career had further followed the lines of Jack Nicklaus'. Pate's first pro victory had been in the U.S. Open, as had Jack's. And Nicklaus' first and only rank performance had been in his first British Open the same year, 1962. Jack hadn't missed the cut at Troon that year, but he had tried to, stubbornly hacking in the bushes of the 11th hole for a 10 and a humiliating 80. "Hey, that makes me feel better," Pate said. "But I wish I hadn't done what I did."
If Jerry Pate had been trying to win the child-of-the-week award, he had no chance against a 14-year-old caddie named Jackie Nicklaus. When the elder Nicklaus' regular British Open caddie, Jimmy Dickinson, injured a foot tendon on the hard sod before the championship, Jack gave the bag-toting job to his oldest son rather than fly over his American tour caddie, Angelo Argea.
Jackie held up well under the spotlight, and he never tired from lugging around his father's 8,000-ton bag, as evidenced by the fact that after the tournament's second round Jackie had himself driven over to Blackpool so he could see what it was like to play Royal Lytham and St. Annes, another of the courses on the British Open rotation.
Jackie knew everything to do, every proper place to be. "I didn't have to tell him anything," his father said. "When you saw us talking out there, I would usually be explaining to him why I had hit the shot I'd hit. For his own experience." The only real embarrassing moment for Jackie came in practice when he was shagging eight-irons for the contender. Backing up for one, he stepped in a hole—a rabbit scrape, perhaps—and fell down backward.