For First Time Nicklaus Not Playing Memorial

By Associated PressMay 27, 2006, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- For the first time in the Memorial Tournament's 31 years, Jack Nicklaus won't be playing in the event he founded.
 
Now 66, the winner of 18 major championships hopes to stay in the background during the tournament this week. The only time the Golden Bear will hit the course is in the pro-am.
 
'It'll be strange to me,' said Nicklaus, the only golfer to have played in each of the first 30 Memorials.
 
Jack Nicklaus hands last year's winner, Bart Bryant, the Memorial trophy.
As the years raced past since his last hurrah on the regular tour -- that memorable back-nine charge to snag the 1986 Masters -- Nicklaus pared his schedule to include little more than the major championships. Yet he played on at the Memorial, the tournament he created in 1976 to honor the contributions of other golfers.
 
Along the way he had plenty of memorable moments. Nicklaus won the 1977 tournament -- at the time he called it 'my biggest thrill in golf' -- by shooting a final-round 1-under-par 71 to beat Hubert Green by two strokes.
 
He won it again in 1984, but it took an incredible finish.
 
Nicklaus was tied with Andy Bean on the 17th hole when he pushed his drive far to the right, the ball bouncing down the cart path and coming to rest under a picnic table on the wood deck of a house on the course's perimeter.
 
'I said to myself, 'The only way I've got a chance is to make birdie on the next ball,'' he said at the time. And that's just what he did, hitting a second drive, nailing a 4 iron to 25 feet and then curling in the putt for a bogey.
 
Now down a shot, Nicklaus pulled even with a par on the 72nd hole, then won it on the third sudden-death playoff hole.
 
Today a brass plaque still marks the spot where that errant drive on 17 came to rest.
 
Nicklaus, born and raised just a few miles away in Upper Arlington, remained a contender for another decade at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
 
Slowly, painfully, he came to see the gallery's warm applause and shouts of 'Way to go, Jack!' as a polite acknowledgment of what he had done instead of what he was doing.
 
'It's tough for him,' said former British Open champion Ben Curtis, who idolized Nicklaus while growing up a few miles from Dublin. 'He's at the stage of his life where he wants to do other things. He's designing golf courses and things like that. He's still staying competitive. But it's a different aspect. And now he's enjoying life.'
 
Men who make their living in the crucible of Sunday pressure say they understand what the decision must have been like for Nicklaus.
 
'I'm sure he felt it was the right time and he's very much at peace with it,' said 2002 Memorial winner Jim Furyk. 'He is a competitive person and I'm sure there's other things in his life that keep that competitive fire going. From what I understand he's a competitor when he fishes. He's always going to have something.'
 
Tim Herron, who won this year's Colonial, said Nicklaus became a victim of his own success.
 
'He doesn't play like he used to,' Herron said. 'But it's hard to be competitive if you're No. 1 in the world for 25 years in a row.'
 
All athletes come to grips with encroaching age. Some never concede. Nicklaus gradually did.
 
Kenny Perry, who won the Memorial in 1991 and 2003, knows what Nicklaus was going through.
 
'My dad was the same way. My dad gave me his golf clubs. He said 'If I can't play like I used to play, then what's the point? I don't want to play any more,'' Perry said.
 
Last year's British Open at St. Andrew's was Nicklaus' final appearance in a major championship. Now he is taking at least a year away from playing in the Memorial.
 
Notorious as a micromanager, Nicklaus will devote himself to making the Memorial even more of a prime stop on tour. It annually ranks among the most popular stops for the pros.
 
Still, he admits he doesn't know for certain what his role will be.
 
'I'll find something. I'll probably get a little bit more involved in the tournament, which I haven't been recently,' Nicklaus said.
 
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry