They tee off this week at Augusta, and here you can see everybody's-choice-to-win-the-Masters out having himself a ball. The scene is a Palm Springs soiree during the recent Bob Hope Desert Classic, the kind of easygoing tournament where a fellow is entitled to let down his hair and have a few giggles. The held is filled with 90-shooters and celebrities, and once you make the clubhouse there is nothing like a quick two-step to show the gang that you only play the Hope for laughs. There is never such levity at Augusta, of course. Especially for the favorite. The Masters is somber business. Weeks of mental preparation. Hours on the practice tee. Visions of a Grand Slam starting. The toughest of competition gathered from around the world. And yet a man who has won the championship three times, finished second twice and holds the Masters scoring record has a right to hope that he might waltz through the field once again. But hold everything! Stop the music! Arnold Palmer is not the Masters favorite. Of course he isn't, you sillies. Palmer's dancing partner is. You just didn't recognize Jack Nicklaus there, wearing a wig but not his green coat.
This is an article from the April 10, 1972 issue