"I'm thinking I'm going to miss," said' Williams, being accurate for once.
This year's National Long Driving Championship will be held in August, just before the PGA Championship at Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh. Williams says he is at the top of his game and should again win the $15,000 first-place check because he has won the last two titles by a comfortable average of eight yards. Marr and a lot of his friends on the pro tour wonder what Big Cat would be like if he could tame his vagrant impulses, nocturnal wanderings and insouciant approach to the game. They point out that big bombers like Bayer, who joined the tour at 29, Mike Souchak and even Nicklaus all were better golfers after they stopped trying to blast the ball.
However, Williams is in no particular hurry to change his game. During his early 20s, when he was a struggling assistant pro, an elderly aunt living in Fort Lauderdale often advised him, "Someday you're going to forget about this and get a job." Now he sends her postcards from all over the world. He has a residence in Orlando, Fla. and another in Leonia, N.J., a city that, appropriately enough for golf's King Kong, is within sight of the Empire State Building. For all of that, a golf course to him is just another driving range. "If I shoot 72 or 70, it's a bonus," he says. "But if I shoot 80 and hit the one or two long drives, I've done my job. Hey, it's a good time." And nice work, if you can get it.