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looked to see if his feet were on the ground and chuckled to himself for doing it, for thinking it. The voice in the mirror was on point. Almost. At least he had a chance to prove it right, to win the U.S. Open. But first, he had to call Lynn and Craig. And maybe his father, even if he didn’t think much of the career. Maybe this would make him feel differently. He wished his mother could be there for it. She had come around, finally. Doctor Barton in- vited him for dinner in San Francisco, but Fleck excused

notion pass. Turn it around, he thought. He would be burying all the other golfers in the field at The Olympic Club. Yes. He went across the street for a light supper: a piece of broiled fish, an order of broccoli, a fruit salad, and a glass of water. In his room he performed his yoga exercises. Inversion, core strengthening, back bend- ing, hip opening, side bend- ing. And the peacock. He stood on one hand that held his body up and splayed his legs out. Then he stood on his head for a minute, with both hands on the floor to

hole. Someone told him that Diegel had gone to bed at 8:00 pm. “Yeah,” Hagen responded, “but he’s not sleeping.” Fleck would sleep and didn’t need to set an alarm. He was on automatic. Hogan dressed for the

day: an undershirt, a white heavy cotton golf shirt, a dark V-neck cashmere sweater, light-colored gabardine slacks, and heavy socks. Valerie would come out a bit later and bring his sports jacket, a dress shirt and tie, and street shoes for the presentation ceremony. He put on his white cap and said to Valerie that

out the window. It was not the way he wanted his day to begin. He’d get over it. Jack Fleck wore a pair

of dark-colored gabardine slacks, a tan woolen V-neck sweater over a light-colored golf shirt, and a cap similar to the one Hogan wore, only fuller in the crown. Many people thought his wearing this cap was another way he identified himself with Ben Hogan. In fact, Fleck always wore a visor. He had brought this cap, which was made of wool, because it was warmer against the chill San Francisco air. He brushed some sand off


himself with thanks. He needed to be alone for a while. The doctor under- stood. He was a tournament golfer himself. He would see Fleck at the course the following day. Fleck returned to the motel in Daly City and, after parking the car, looked at the sign for the next town, Colma, only fifty yards to the south. It was where all the gravestones in the Bay Area were made. When he took his room the previous Friday and learned that, he thought for a moment that it was a bad omen. But he let that

52 / NCGA.ORG / SPRING 2012

hold him steady. After the headstand he took a seated yoga position and let his mind drift until there was nothing on it. Then, to bed. The playoff didn’t begin

until 2:00 pm, which meant a lot of time to kill before getting into the action. But he would get to bed at 9:30 pm anyway. Fleck remem- bered reading an anecdote about Walter Hagen, the great champion and bon vivant. On the evening before he was to play Leo Diegel for the 1926 PGA championship, Hagen was out having some fun and drinks at a local watering

he would see her after the round. She wished him luck. He nodded briefly and left the room. He got into the car that would take him to the golf course, but the driver wasn’t taking the usual route from the hotel. He was going the other way. Hogan asked why, and the driver said he was told to pick up two other people at a nearby hotel. Hogan was unhappy with this change of routine and that he would have to be with two people, strang- ers, for the twenty-minute drive to the Olympic Club. He lit a cigarette and stared

his trouser knees after having knelt on the beach and drove his car up Skyline Road and turned left into the Olympic Club entrance. He showed his contestant’s badge to the gateman, who wished him well. Fleck thanked him for his good wishes. He drove past the practice tee on the right, the pro shop and first tee a little farther up on the left, then down a small incline to the parking lot. Walker Inman was there with Doug Ford. He gave them the keys to his car. “You’ve got the game,

Jack; let him have it,” said Inman. “He’s a tired old

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