Nicklaus Im About Done

By Associated PressApril 28, 2004, 4:00 pm
TRAVELERS REST, S.C. -- It turns out Jack Nicklaus might be finished with more than just the Masters.
He spoke Wednesday about giving up a game he once dominated, winning 73 PGA Tour events and 18 major titles.
'I'm about done playing golf,' the 64-year-old Nicklaus said at the Nationwide Tour's BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs. He's competing here with his four sons: Jackie, Gary, Steve and Michael.
'I haven't made up my mind whether I'm going to play anymore this year after the Memorial tournament' in June, Nicklaus said.
At the Masters this month, the six-time champion said it was likely that he would not play at Augusta National in 2005. And that was before he shot consecutive 75s to miss the cut.
Nicklaus has struggled with arthritis, injuries and a faltering game the past few seasons.
'I know I can't compete at the level I used to compete,' Nicklaus said. '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.'
Gary Player, 68, empathized with Nicklaus.
'It's hard spending all your time playing golf, like you did when you were a young man,' said Player, here with his son Marc.
A year ago, the Golden Bear was the only Nicklaus around for the Nationwide event's final two rounds. He won the pro-am competition with son Steve and briefly scared the younger pros when he got to within five shots of the lead after 36 holes. Nicklaus left with a smile on his face, happy he was close to again playing successful, competitive golf.
Time and his own high standards have made it hard to maintain that momentum, Nicklaus said.
People continually ask him not to quit. 'But I tell them, 'Well, you're not in my body,'' Nicklaus said.
A full day swinging clubs is more of a physical toll than ever before. 'It takes me a while before it wants to work,' he said. 'If I'm not playing golf, it doesn't hurt too much. If I am playing golf, that's when it really hurts.'
Nicklaus was on hand to present the Nationwide's 2003 player of the year award -- named in his honor -- to Zach Johnson, who claimed his first PGA Tour win this year at the BellSouth Classic.
Looking at the sculpture of a younger Nicklaus, he quipped: 'I was that thin once?'
Johnson said Nicklaus was an idol to so many young players.
'He was the man I looked up to in this game,' Johnson said.
Nicklaus started strongly on the Champions Tour this year, finishing sixth at the Mastercard Classic with rounds of 68, 66 and 67. But he's only played two other Champion events, none since March.
'If you're not capable of winning, then you're just cluttering up the field. That's the way I look at it,' Nicklaus said. 'Then again, maybe my standards are a little higher.'
His competitive fire still burns strongly. He recalled talking with Player after the 2002 Masters, when the South African was pleased with a 78 at a beefed up Augusta National.
'You're Gary Player,' Nicklaus chided his friend. 'You've won the tournament three times and you're proud to break 80?'
Then again, maybe Nicklaus just wants a break after so long in the spotlight. He returned to The Cliffs to play with his children, one of his life's great joys. Now, Nicklaus says he's just as happy to fish quietly with his wife, Barbara.
'I spent all my weekends the last 40 years in press rooms at golf courses,' Nicklaus said. 'Frankly, I just think it's time to ... do something else.'
Related Links:
  • TGC Airtimes - BMW Charity Pro-Am at the Cliffs
  • Full Coverage - BMW Charity Pro-Am at the Cliffs
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

    By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

    Tiger Woods teed off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

    Getty Images

    Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

    Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

    As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

    Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

    This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

    The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

    Getty Images

    Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

    PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

    She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

    “I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

    Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

    “Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

    She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

    “I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

    Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

    She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

    “They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

    Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

    While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

    “Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

    Getty Images

    Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

    PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

    In fact, she named her “Mona.”

    For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

    While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

    And that has her excited about this year.

    Well, that and having a healthy back again.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

    Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    “Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

    Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

    She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

    Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.