By that time, everyone else was out of it—chiefly Player, who struck a terrible drive at the 15th hole that bounced on a cart path and over a fence. Out of bounds, out of contention. Just like that.
"I hadn't thought of Casper all day," Nicklaus said. "Now I'm on the 17th with a one-shot lead. If I don't birdie the 17th, I'm in exactly the situation I don't want to be in. I'll have to make 4 on 18 to win."
Nicklaus played the long 17th with a spoon off the tee ("If I'd known about Casper's birdie at 18 in time, I'd have used a driver"), a one-iron perfectly down the middle and a wedge to the green, about five feet from the cup.
"When you point for something so long, you want it to end up sweet," Jack said. "The birdie putt on 17, I felt, was it. I said to myself, 'Work hard on this one and you've got it.' "
He waited, concentrated and rammed it in. Now he could afford the luxury of driving off the long 18th with a one-iron to avoid a water hazard. Nicklaus, in fact, is about the only guy anywhere who could have driven off 18 into that wind with a one-iron and still have been able to get near the green with a succeeding two-iron. Earlier, he had used a one-iron into the wind on the 232-yard, par-3 11th and had driven the green. Actually, he went off the left edge of it and ended up with a bogey 4, but the point is he drove it with an iron. On that same hole Billy Casper used a driver "in an attempt to reach the green and later said, "It was the hardest drive I ever hit in my life."
What Nicklaus was doing on 18 was playing for a cinch bogey and a possible par, since the birdie on 17 had given him the cushion he wanted. So he made a par anyhow, with a nice chip and a short putt. This gave him a closing 73, a two-stroke edge on Casper and victory with a seven-under-par 281.
It was his second PGA title, of course, but it was more than that. It was his 11th major championship when you total it up: two U.S. Opens, three Masters, two British Opens, two U.S. Amateurs and now two PGAs. And he is still only 31 years old. Walter Hagen won as many major titles, but of all the fine golfers in the game's history only Bobby Jones (with 13) has won more.
"I'll be honest about it," said Jack. "I want to win more than Jones. That's what you play for, to separate yourself from the crowd."
Because by Sunday things had narrowed down to what looked for a time like a two-man show between Nicklaus and his house guest, there was naturally a lot of speculation about how the two of them would spend Saturday evening. You know. Would Gary and Jack watch Lawrence Welk, go moonlight swimming, play gin, or what?
Nothing quite so fascinating took place. Player didn't even stay home. He chartered a plane and flew to Miami for dinner with some business associates. Jack cooked steaks for some visitors, the Deane Bemans and a neighboring couple who dropped by. Nicklaus was just beginning to yawn when Gary came back from Miami about 10. They would both have gone to bed then if Mannix, one of their favorite TV shows, hadn't come on. So they stayed up an extra hour watching Mannix, who was saved this time by a bullet-proof pane of glass, and then went to bed.