NEWPORT BEACH — When Hale Irwin sank a 45-foot-putt as part of his remarkableU.S. Open win in 1990 he erupted with high-fives and high-stepping in celebration.
Many viewed that as a moment when Irwin was uncharacteristic. Irwin's wife, Sally, contends it was her husband showing his true self.
These days, Irwin, at 66, is displaying himself more and more. After Irwin spoke to and entertained a packed banquet room at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, he admitted that his personality has changed. He is looser. He is more willing to give more of himself when discussing the game.
It's almost like that day he won theU.S. Openin 1990.
"I was in love with everybody," Irwin said, reminiscing when Toshiba Classic emeritus chair Hank Adler asked about Irwin's third Open win.
Irwin at times poked fun of Adler. When Irwin discovered Adler was wearing a feminine-looking watch around his hand, the Hall of Famer gave a scared look to the crowd and positioned himself further away from Adler.