This couldn't hold up, right? With eight players left on the course? No way a kid sports writer could get this lucky on his first golf assignment ever, could he?
With Nicklaus off it, all the magic left the course. Seve Ballesteros at 15: Chunk into the creek. Tom Kite's putt to tie on 18: Lip out. Norman, the last man with a chance: Spinning out on his 4-iron and straight into second place.
And that was history. Golf's greatest player had just won golf's greatest tournament when the odds against him doing it had never been greater. His sixth jacket fit the best.
Turns out Jack wasn't broke at all.
Afterward, veteran golf writers' throats were closing fast. One old guy with nothing on his Olivetti had his head in his hands and was going, "This is just too BIG!"
It was big. And if Woods ends up one major short of Nicklaus, it will be even bigger.
But I loved it for the way it shrank the distance between my dad and me. I loved it because I knew, as I was writing it, that my dad would read it, savoring each word as though we had seen it together.
My dad shrank as he aged, as did my fear of him. As men, we became friends.
And when we buried him, 21 Masters later, I was glad it was in a yellow shirt.
He striped a 5-iron to three feet, though he couldn't see it.
"Be right," Jackie said.
"It is," his dad replied.
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Rick Reilly is the 11-time National Sportswriter of the Year. He contributes essays and commentary to "SportsCenter" and ESPN/ABC golf and tennis coverage. He's also the host of "Homecoming," ESPN's unique, one-hour interview show set in the hometowns of legendary athletes. For more Rick, check out the archive.
Feel like taking a detour from sane sports? Try Rick's new book, "Sports from Hell."