newspapers, the radio, the telly, they all say your man collapsed. He--what's
the current phrase?--choked!" Hilton snorted. "They say it's the worst
collapse since that Frenchman gave it away at Carnoustie or since Palmer
squandered his seven-stroke lead over Casper." Hilton started to mumble.
"Snead, maybe ... Greg Norman at Augusta...."
"I simply feel
a bit ... neglected."
I suddenly got his
drift. "You feel slighted because they no longer mention ... you?"
Hilton gave a few
short, quick nods. "It's foolish, I know, but I used to be the benchmark
for conspicuous collapse," he said. "There was probably not a player in
the world who attempted to throw away more matches through temporary fits of
insanity. On this side of the water they called them Hilton Episodes."
This was news to
me, although I vaguely recollected that something extraordinary had happened to
Hilton at Apawamis Country Club, where he had become the first foreign-born
player to win the U.S. Amateur.
"I was 6 up on
Fred Herreshoff with 15 to play in the final," Hilton said, reading my
mind. "Criminally overconfident, I gave away the entire lead over the next
13 holes." Showing his gift for understatement, Hilton added, "I was
not blessed with the ideal temperament for playing golf."
"But you won
I won on the 37th hole. I won with a par, which I accomplished by hitting a
spoon into the rock bed by the 1st green, from which graveyard the ball
ricocheted down onto the green. I believe the Apawamis members still refer to
it as Hilton's Rock." He indulged himself with a wan smile. "Poor
Herreshoff! My good fortune shook him so badly that he skulled his approach
shot and made bogey."