Nicklaus Finally Slowing Down
Beyond that, he hasn't made any tee times.
'I don't have anything else on my schedule the rest of the year,' Nicklaus said prior to the start of the Senior PGA Championship at Valhalla outside Louisville, Ky. 'I'm going to play father-son stuff and Skins games and that kind of stuff, you know, if I'm invited. But tournament golf, I don't see myself playing much. I might play an odd tournament here and there, but only if the mood strikes me and I want to go play.'
The 64-year-old Golden Bear, not so tired as much as tired of not playing well, has enjoyed his time away from the course. He dotes on his 17 grandkids and spends a lot of time with his wife of 43 years, Barbara.
Unlike early in his career, when he built his summers around the major championships, Nicklaus now enjoys a varied life. Just as he has cut back on his competitive schedule, he no longer devotes as much time to his golf-course design business or to golf exhibitions and public appearances.
Asked what motivates him these days, Nicklaus smiled.
'Frankly, I find an awful lot of competition in trying to catch a fish properly,' he said. 'It's something that I'm getting better at all the time -- particularly with a fly rod. A lot of the courses that I select [to play] usually are close to good trout streams or something. And my wife likes to fish. So the two of us can go trout fishing together. We can go bone fishing together or do whatever we want to do.'
Nicklaus always put his family first but he was always pulled away by his travels to the far-flung golf outposts of the world. He said he is fortunate that he can now spend more time with loved ones without giving up his many other interests and businesses.
'My wife has spent a whole bunch of weekends watching me hit a golf ball, so it might be time I spent some time doing the things she likes to do,' he said.
Joey Sindelar, another former Ohio State golfer, won the Wachovia three weeks ago at the age of 46. He grew up idolizing Nicklaus.
As sorry as Sindelar would be to see Nicklaus stop playing tournaments, he also admires the decision.
'I'm actually happy that he said those things. It's nice that he came to that conclusion,' Sindelar said. 'He was a slave to the game -- in a great way, you know -- but he did it all and now he says, 'This is a different time in my life for different stuff.' I'm OK with that. I think it's pretty awesome.'
Nicklaus doesn't spend a lot of weekends around his home in North Palm Beach, Fla. If he did, he might end up doing nothing but sitting in a lawn chair behind the chain-link fence at a dusty ballpark every night.
'I've got 17 grandkids,' he said with a chuckle. 'I'll have to say that maybe it's a little bit too much Little League baseball.'
In April at a charity pro-am in South Carolina, Nicklaus all but said his competitive golf days were over. Too proud to play ceremonial golf while shooting high scores, Nicklaus said then that he didn't want to lower his standards just because of his age, his creaky back, his hip replacements or arthritis.
'If I go out and finish in the top 10, and that's a great week, then I know it's time to hang up your spikes,' he said at the time.
That caused a sensation because many people do not want to see Nicklaus step away from the game. He is still a popular draw at tournaments.
But while players and friends such as Arnold Palmer and Gary Player seem perfectly content to make appearances to soak up the applause of an adoring public, that doesn't get Nicklaus excited. Only winning gets Nicklaus' competitive juices flowing.
'That is all I've ever played for. That's why I probably don't want to play anymore because winning is really an issue with me that is probably beyond my ability at this point in my life. And that is the only reason I ever play,' he said.
Even when he does not play up to his expectations, Nicklaus is met with thunderous applause at every green during the Memorial Tournament. He designed and built the Muirfield Village Golf Club course, helps organize and administer the tournament and has won it twice.
The large galleries don't really care how Nicklaus is playing; they just appreciate the fact that he brings the PGA Tour event to his hometown.
'I'm always amazed at the number of people who walk up to him and say, 'Jack, thanks for bringing this to Columbus,'' Memorial Tournament executive director Dan Sullivan said.
Nicklaus said he may continue to play the Memorial even after he has stopped playing in other tournaments. He has played in all 28 Memorials and once again was the first player to commit to the field this year.
Nicklaus' last major championship was the 1986 Masters. He has won 73 PGA Tour events and 18 major titles. Now he gets a kick out of playing events with his four sons -- Jackie, Gary, Steve and Michael -- or teaching his grandkids the finer points of the golf swing.
Just like the inaugural tournament in 1976, Nicklaus will tee it up in the Memorial. But the clock is ticking, even for one of the titans of the game.
'He's been the best we've ever seen in modern tour golf -- it's not even close,' Sindelar said. 'Just as I came on the tour in the early 1980s, he was pretty much phasing out. I never got to see him in his prime, although I got to see him play some great golf. I know it hurts him to play golf. That isn't fun.
'It's an era that's going to be officially closed.'
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut
If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.
Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.
But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.
Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.
Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:
Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180
Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70
Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5
Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450
Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200
Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000
Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements
SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.
Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.
“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.
“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”
Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.
“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.
Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.
Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim.
Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.
Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026
SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.
“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.
In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.