Except for the
phrases he borrows from his father, there's nothing about Nathaniel that
readily brings to mind Bing. He doesn't have his father's cool, mellow speaking
voice or his lively eyes or prominent ears or slim physique. The heels of
Nathaniel's loafers sort of drag across the floor—he's not light on his feet,
as his father was. He has never run from being the son of Bing Crosby, and he's
happy to talk about him, but he has never turned it into a full-time gig,
either. For the past half-dozen years or so, as he divorced and remarried,
Nathaniel played golf sparingly and worked mostly as a consultant. "Sheila
and I were both on the receiving end of our divorces, and we were among the
walking wounded," he says, meaning that neither initiated their breakups.
He's admirably open. "But we've figured out a way to make this whole Brady
Bunch thing work." Now that his home life is whole again, Nathaniel is
looking to return to competitive golf and, more significant, get back into the
business of golf. "This time I'm swinging for the fences," he says,
speaking of the business he is planning to launch. He doesn't expect to win
another U.S. Amateur, but he'd like to have a shot at a U.S. Senior Amateur
when he turns 55.
The garage at his
North Palm Beach house is filled with golf clubs, surfboards, fishing
equipment, tennis rackets and all the other accoutrements of the affluent
Florida life. Except at Christmastime you won't hear much of Bing's music in
the house. Bing's legacy shows up in other ways (some of Nathaniel's kids are
playing golf too), and almost every day Nathaniel is moved to recall his father
in some specific way. Maybe you remember Bing's old Minute Maid spots. When
Nathaniel drops his voice and recites his father's famous tagline—"there's
no doubt about it"—you'd swear Bing Crosby were still alive.
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