The Golden Bear and His Cubs

By Associated PressMay 1, 2003, 4:00 pm
TRAVELERS REST, S.C. -- Steve Nicklaus remembers his father flying home in the middle of a PGA Tour event in Ohio to watch his sons play for a high school football title in Florida.

'That was a big game,' Jack Nicklaus said Wednesday.

Steve guessed his dad probably got back to Firestone Country Club about 2 the next morning. 'You won that week, didn't you?' Steve asked his father.

'You guys won,' Jack said. 'I don't care about what I did.'

Family, and then golf, has always been Nicklaus' routine. And the Golden Bear gets to combine them this week as he tees off with his four sons -- Jack II, Steve, Gary and Michael -- in the Nationwide Tour's BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs.

'I'm always looking for a place to play with the boys, and to have a tournament be nice enough to ask, I can't turn that down,' the elder Nicklaus said.

The 63-year-old Nicklaus won 18 major titles and remains the game's gold standard. But he's rarely put golf ahead of his wife and children. He vowed to wife Barbara that he wouldn't spend more than two weeks on tour away from his family and has largely kept that promise for more than four decades.

'If I actually had to pick my best friend, I'd pick my father,' said Jack II.

Nicklaus looks at it as doing what he had to do. If he needed to work on drawing a 3-iron while Jackie and Steve were throwing golf balls at each other on the range, so be it. Chasing daughter Nan, or Gary through sandtraps, no problem. The experiences taught Nicklaus the sharp focus and concentration that's rarely been
equalled.

Jack and his son Gary, both playing as pros, will join amateur son Steve for the first two rounds of the Nationwide's only celebrity event that includes actor Kevin Costner. Professionals Jack II and Michael will tee off in groups soon after.

'I guess when you have more than one Nicklaus in a tournament you have Nick-o-lai,' said John O'Hurley, the former J. Peterman of 'Seinfield' fame who's playing here. 'I think it's created such a buzz in this tournament to watch them play.'

It's not all a fun-filled family reunion. Jack Nicklaus says he's feeling better than he has in a while and hopes to scare some of the Nationwide's younger up-and-comers with his old school game.

After finishing a practice round at The Cliffs' Keowee Vineyards course, Nicklaus and three sons -- Michael was driving at BMW's testing center -- played the five holes they did not complete because of rain Tuesday. As his sons headed off to the 17th tee, Nicklaus was alone on the 16th green practicing chips from the sidehill rough.

One hole earlier when Steve went sideways with an approach, Nicklaus counseled him to keep his 'left shoulder back and move your weight forward.' Steve followed through with a nicer shot.
 
'That was better,' dad called over.

During walks, Nicklaus cooed at his 15th and latest grandchild, 7-month-old Gary Thomas Jr. When the boy's father, Gary, stepped to the 18th tee, grandpa yelled to spectators, 'Better watch yourself right there. Gary hasn't been playing a lot lately.'

The only one missing from the family reunion is 37-year-old Nan, a non-golfer like her mother.

Jack Nicklaus expected stiff competition among the family this week. But when the round's over, he's happy to have his family share in the game he's loved.

'This is just a fun thing for us to do,' Nicklaus said.
 
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the BMW Charity Pro-Am
  • Full coverage of the BMW Charity Pro-Am
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.