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Over the years, Golf Digest has chatted with anyone who's anyone in golf, on topics as varied as pressure, gamesmanship, temper and other embarrassing situations. In this final installment celebrating our 60th anniversary, we've compiled tales involving the famous and not-so-famous. --Mike O'Malley-----------------------------
TOM WEISKOPF: 'DON'T SHOOT THE WRONG GUY'
There was a period in the late 1970s when there were some death threats on tour. Hubert Green won the U.S. Open under a death threat in 1977. Somewhere in that time I found myself paired with Jack Nicklaus for the last round at Augusta. We were five or six strokes behind, not totally out of contention, but not really threatening, either. After I'd finished warming up, I saw Jack coming off the range, and damned if we weren't dressed exactly the same. Immediately I asked my wife, Jeanne, to go to the pro shop and buy me a different-color shirt, because it's weird when you're dressed exactly like the guy next to you.
Now at about the same moment, this big guy comes over to me and says, "Tom, I don't want to upset you, but it's my responsibility to tell you that Jack has received a death threat today. We have to consider it as being serious. There are going to be some FBI guys and some security in the gallery, and I'm going to be with you, very close but outside the ropes. I just wanted you to know."
Jeanne finally shows up with the new shirt, and I take off the shirt I'm wearing, right there on the first tee. I have a very hairy chest, and people started whistling and carrying on; it was pretty funny. Jack strolled over and said, "What in the hell are you doing?" I said, "I just want to make sure they don't shoot the wrong guy." He laughed like hell. We both played terrible.-----------------------------
PETER ALLISS, ON THE PERILS OF 'NODDY IS HIDDEN'
In my playing days, a group of us led by the devious Hugh Lewis invented a game called "Noddy is hidden." A noddy is a condom, and the object of the game was to unleash it on the victim in a way that would cause the greatest embarrassment possible. At a cocktail party, pro-am dinner or even during a tournament, if the cry "Noddy is hidden!" went out, you had best be on your guard.
One fellow, just introduced on the first tee, removed the cover from his driver and found noddy stretched over his wooden clubhead. Another found noddy placed in the sun visor of the family automobile, which caused him--and his wife--great consternation. They put one in my golf glove once; it fell out in view of spectators and brought me almost to tears with humiliation. That was when I decided to exact my revenge.
Weeks later, at a large house party for the mayor of Altrincham, Hugh Lewis was entertaining a group of people that included the mayor's wife. I offered to refill their glasses of gin. I padded into the kitchen and emerged moments later with their beverages, brimming with gin, lemon slices and fresh ice cubes. I handed one to the mayor's wife. Slowly, the warmth of her hand melted the ice. I watched and waited until the bottom cube was almost melted, then leaned into Hugh's ear and hissed, "Noddy is hidden!" At that very moment the noddy floated to the top of the glass belonging to the wife, freed at last after I'd placed it in the ice tray hours before. Hugh was mortified. He snatched it from her hand before she saw what was in her glass, but the roars of the other guests, combined with the expression of horror and disbelief on Hugh's face, is something I will treasure all my days.
We decided that night to cancel the game "Noddy is hidden" forever, lest one night we wind up in jail.-----------------------------
KEN VENTURI, ON TAKING GARY MCCORD
TO MEET BEN HOGAN
I always go over to see Ben at Shady Oaks when we do Colonial. A few years ago, Frank Chirkinian [CBS producer] said, "Maybe we'll join you. I'll bring Gary over, too."
Frank introduced Gary to Ben, and they sat down with us. Ben never rushes anything. Ben takes his time.
So after a while, Hogan looked across at Gary and said, "What did you say your name was?" Gary said, "My name is Gary McCord." A few minutes later, Hogan asked him, "What do you do?"
"I work for CBS, and I'm a pro, and I'm on the tour."