On the east end of Long Island -- the exact setting for "Jaws" -- another hunt is on for a Great White Shark. It can't help Greg Norman's sleep to know that one of the biggest great whites ever caught was landed off Montauk very near here.
The public's fisherman of choice is Lee Trevino, who is tied with Hal Sutton just one shot behind Norman entering Sunday's final round of golf's U.S. Open.
If Jack Nicklaus can win the Masters at 46, why can't Trevino, a month older, win the Open? Of course, it's preposterous. But this is the year of the geriatric miracle in sports.
"If I win, my wife said she'd give me a son," said Trevino, who would be tied for the lead except for a bogey at the 18th hole. "I want that very, very badly."
For the second day in a row, the real fisherman's tale here at Shinnecock Hills was The One That Got Away. This time, it was the Shark who lost his meal once more.
Talk about an instant replay. Norman came to the 10th tee with a four-shot lead after going out in 33, exactly as he did Friday when he moved five ahead. Again, he bogeyed the 10th hole. Again he missed taunting, daunting little birdie putts at the 11th and 12th holes. Again he drove wildly at the narrow but easy 377-yard 13th hole. On Friday, that led to bogey. This time, double bogey as he missed a teeny putt.
Think he wasn't upset? At the 14th, Norman walked to the gallery ropes and cordially inquired whether a fan, who'd razzed him about choking, might like to meet him in the parking lot later so Norman could punch out his lights.
By sundown, Norman had finished with six straight tepid pars for 71 and an even-par 210 total. His playing partner Trevino, who birdied the 13th hole and was tied for the lead for five holes on the back, had 69 for 211, and Sutton (The Bear Apparent) tied the course record with 66 to move to the head of the hunt.
Norman's fade moved many a name player into the fray. Hot Bob Tway (69) is at 212. Raymond Floyd, Mike Reid (66), Payne Stewart (69), Denis Watson (71) and Mark McCumber (68) are comfortable at 213. Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw and Bernhard Langer are at 214. Even Jack Nicklaus (67) and Seve Ballesteros (68) at 216 can dream about what a 65 on Sunday might do.
"Norman's in the driver's seat," said Nicklaus. "He's playing better than anyone I've seen in a long time."
But he's also facing more hassles. It's not just the memory of his narrow losses at the 1984 Open and 1986 Masters that nag Norman. He has hecklers. After the 13th, where Norman's double bogey and Trevino's birdie suddenly created a tie at the top, a fan by the 14th fairway yelled "You're choking!" point blank at the Australian built like an NFL halfback.
Norman walked right to the ropes, looked the man in the face and said, "If you want to say that, I'll talk to you later, but shut your face."
The man apologized. Wisely.
"There were some fans following us who'd had too much to drink. Somehow they had the righteous feeling that they could say anything they wanted," said Norman. "That takes a lot out of you. I'm not the type to stand for it. That was enough for me. I told him, 'Don't be such an ass.' It's a shame that 50 out of 16,000 can ruin a good day for the golfers. If this were football, that would be different, but it's not."
Norman said he wished he had the poise and self-possession not to be bothered by such taunts, but added, "I'm not that sort of guy. Yes, I'm glad I got it off my chest. He was abusing me and that upsets me. I played better after that . . . If he'd said what he said to me in the parking lot, he'd have had a face full of fingers."
Actually, Norman has faced up to considerable hostility here the past two days and has responded well. "In this part of the world, maybe they're just totally hacked off because we [Australia] took the America's Cup [of yachting]. I heard things like, 'Why do you want the U.S. cup when you have the America's Cup?'
"I suppose all that's just part and parcel of winning a major title, especially in New York. If you can put up with it and win, you're a better person for it. I haven't experienced anything like this anywhere before. But it's only 50 people at most who're leaving a sour taste."
The sleeper in this field is Sutton, whose 35-31 caught most of the crowd by surprise, keyed as they were to the match-play style duel between Norman and Trevino.
"On the back nine, I really putted well. I was a late mover, but at least I did move finally," said Sutton, who will be paired with Norman on Sunday. "I don't think 66 is particularly low on this golf course."
Sutton had the big advantage of a normal, polite gallery. The Norman-Trevino gallery barged under the ropes, disrupted play with comments, wandered into crosswalks, milled behind greens, and eventually infuriated both players.
"I know you're hard of hearing, but let's have a little quiet," Trevino lectured one fan at the 15th hole. By the 16th, Trevino was saying loudly, " . . . you gotta get ear plugs out here. This ain't a football game."
Normally, it's Trevino who distracts, and sometimes annoys, his partners. "It's hard to play with Lee," Nicklaus said today. "He's always talking and moving and the crowd's reacting to him. I don't think he does it on purpose. But it makes it hard to concentrate."
When Norman arrives at the back nine on Sunday, he vows he'll have learned his lessons.
"I promise you I'll par No. 10 tomorrow and I'll par No. 13 tomorrow . . . I didn't play badly today except for the one bad drive at the 13th."
If Norman hadn't handed back five shots to the field on those two holes -- which are among the easiest on the whole track -- in the last two days, this might be a dull affair.
Instead, it's a wide-open U.S. Open, with millions rooting for every Trevino shot.
As usual, he is playing mind games. He has everybody believing "I never hit a practice ball anymore. My back's too bad." That's not what the marshals here say. They swear he beat balls and putted for five solid hours on Monday.
Trevino would easily be the oldest man ever to win the Open. Ted Ray was 43.
If Trevino takes any lesson into the final round, it may be caution. At the 18th, he got greedy after a drive in the rough, hitting a 4-wood instead of laying up and trying to pitch close for one putt. "I was tryin' to pull a miracle. Bad shot . . .
"This course plays a lot tougher than I thought. Before the tournament I told the other players, 'If the wind doesn't blow, they'll have to call the fire department to put this golf course out. There'll be red everywhere. You'll think the course is bleeding.' But I've learned to respect it. It's not easy at all."
Neither is shark catching. Twice, the field here has escaped from "Jaws." Come Sunday, Jaws III.