Nicklaus Makes Gentlemans Decision

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2003, 5:00 pm
GEORGE, South Africa -- Jack Nicklaus made a decision Sunday that will add to the luster of his legend.
 
The United States captain at the Presidents Cup offered to share the trophy with the International team after the tournament was still tied 17-17 after three playoff holes at the Gary Player-designed 7,489-yard Links course at the Fancourt Hotel and Country Club Estate.
 
In the 1969 Ryder Cup, England's Tony Jacklin had a short but tantalizingly difficult putt to share the cup. Nicklaus casually conceded the putt, and, although the cup was retained by the United States, the decision was startling in its generosity.
 
In gathering darkness on the third playoff hole between Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, Nicklaus tried to sell his United States team on another startling idea: How did the players feel about accepting the 17-17 draw but sharing the cup, because neither team deserved to lose after such an extraordinary week of golf?
 
The rules said the playoff had to happen. The International players were not going to let go of their shot at winning the thing. The United States players did not want to win it in that kind of way from a bunch of players who had given them such a great contest. So Nicklaus made the decision nobody who was involved doubted was the right one.
 
'It's the perfect decision,' Woods said. 'The way the week has gone, it's the right decision for the game of golf.'
 
Davis Love III said Player had approached the United States players as early as the end of the first playoff hole, suggesting it was too hard on two individual players to carry the aspirations of nations and teams.
 
'He and Jack finished it the way it should be finished, and they should go down just like they have done their whole careers, as gentlemen that represent the game of golf and it couldn't have had a better ending,' he said.
 
Zimbabwe's Nick Price pointed out that he had never come across two more competitive golfers than Player and Nicklaus.
 
'They both wanted to win very badly. And for them to reach the decision and to come and ask us as teams what we thought of that decision was something that I think is very special,' he said.
 
For all that, it was extraordinary theater.
 
'I watched those two guys and it was unbelievable,' United States player Chris DiMarco said. 'The putts that the guys made when it mattered were unbelievable, they really were. It showed why they are where they are and who they are. It was so good for golf.'
 
Woods admitted he felt the pressure.
 
'Man, that was actually one of the most nerve-racking moments I've ever had in golf.'
 
Els agreed: 'Probably the first time I've ever felt my legs shaking a little bit.'
 
Watching Woods and Els agonize over monstrously difficult putts on the third playoff hole, Nicklaus decided he didn't want the match to end on a missed putt from either player.
 
'When Ernie made that putt, I thought it was absolutely perfect, and I don't think there was a player on either side that wanted to see either person miss their putt,' he said.
 
'And that is really the spirit in which these matches have been played all week, and I think we'll carry that spirit away from here and I think it will enrich the lives of all these guys forever,' he added.
 
Related Links:
  • Presidents Cup Scoring
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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.