Golf fans who take the time to look Moody up find him matter-of-fact and approachable. They banter with him in a mocking style they never would dare use with a big star. (Moody himself looks up enthralled when Arnold Palmer's jet passes overhead.) He has Palmer's autograph. It is on a 1969 U.S. Open program a friend gave him as a memento of his own victory.
This year Moody approached Tom Place, the PGA's public information director, and suggested that it wasn't quite accurate to list him as playing out of Dallas.
"Tom, start registerin' me out of plain ol' Texas," said Moody.
"Sure, Orville. Where in Texas?"
"Plain ol' Texas," said Moody.
"But where in Texas?"
"Plain ol'. P-L-A-N-0."
Plain ol' Orville's penchant for treating everyone fairly and with compassion may have hurt him during his early years on tour. His caddie then was Bob Zerbes, who had been an Army buddy. Zerbes carried a wedge around with him—for protection, he said. There were people, "corporate interests" he called them, who were out to harm him because Moody was siphoning away some of Arnold Palmer's gallery. Zerbes shaved in golf-course parking lots, using a razor, a cup of cold water and an automobile's side-view mirror, slept in fields he called "the Greengrass Motel," and carried alarm clocks everywhere. Once he dropped one and the alarm went off. He finally silenced the racket by stomping on the clock. Moody said: "Bob, why did you do that?" "It doesn't matter," said Zerbes. "I've got two more in my pockets."
For whatever reason—possibly from watching Moody's putts slip past the hole—Zerbes had become increasingly suspicious of his surroundings. He shunned motels because, he told Moody, the Mafia was watching him via television. He was convinced that someone was relaying information to Palmer about the consistency of the greens by holding up soft-drink cases at each hole. On one side, Zerbes said, was printed "Hard," on the other, "Soft." The caddie kept extraordinary and meticulous records of every shot Moody hit. He marched off yardage in diligent fashion. When he came to a lake he simply waded through it, holding his notebook high. The records he kept were stashed in safety deposit boxes around the country.
Moody kept Zerbes on because he was a good caddie and because they had been friends for so long. Moody called him "eccentric." But finally Moody got another caddie.