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
  • Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.