Nicklaus to Play at the Masters
Nicklaus, a six-time Masters champion, played a practice round Sunday with his three oldest sons and played again Thursday with his youngest son and Arnold Palmer.
'While I don't know if my golf game is good enough or not, I feel good enough physically, and I am hitting the ball long enough to play the golf course,' Nicklaus said on his Web site. 'Now, it's up to me.'
The 63-year-old Nicklaus did not say what he shot in either round, but did say the score was irrelevant.
He skipped the Masters last year because of lower back problems. Nicklaus is on a new diet that has left him trim and fit. The only thing left to decide was whether he could handle a course that is 7,290 yards - 305 yards longer than he last played in the Masters.
During practice rounds last year, he hit eight fairway metals into the par 4s.
'Last year, I hit driver, 3-wood into No. 1, and this week I hit 6-iron into that green,' Nicklaus said. 'On (No.) 9 last year, I hit 4-wood into that green, and I hit 8-iron Sunday.'
Even with a new tee on the fifth hole that added 20 yards, Nicklaus said he managed to reach that green with a 6-iron.
'When you can hit mid-irons into those new par 4s, that's long enough for me to play the golf course,' Nicklaus said. 'It's certainly not Tiger Woods' length. That's not even quite Sam Saunders' length.'
Saunders in the 15-year-old grandson of Palmer, who played with them Thursday.
Palmer, who played in his last Masters a year ago, persuaded Nicklaus to play in the Bay Hill Invitational last week. Nicklaus had rounds of 82-76 to missed the cut.
'If this is any indication here, I can't play anything,' he said.
Still, most believed Nicklaus would return to Augusta National, the course he dominated over three decades.
This year is the 40-year anniversary of his first green jacket, which Palmer slipped over his shoulders. Nicklaus also won in 1965, 1966, 1975 and 1986, when he was 46.
Nicklaus last contended at Augusta National in 1998 when, despite a degenerative left hip, he made a Sunday charge and tied for sixth to become the oldest player to finish in the top 10 at the Masters.
'I didn't want to go back there unless I thought I could contribute to the field and be competitive,' Nicklaus said. 'I certainly don't think I'm going to be competitive enough to win a golf tournament, but if I really play well, I might have a decent finish.'
Nicklaus has said he would consider the top 10 a good goal if he played well.
Since turning 50, Nicklaus has made the cut nine of the 11 times he has played the Masters.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18