Nicklaus Playing Days on US Soil Complete
People sensed this could be history. So did his buddy and playing partner, Tom Watson. As the applause lengthened, Watson came to a respectful stop on the fairway and let Nicklaus walk onto the green all by himself, making sure the moment belonged entirely to the Golden Bear.
Will Jack ever be back? Or did the man many consider the greatest golfer ever play his last American tournament in the Champion Tour's Bayer Advantage Classic?
He said all week that he would retire after next month's British Open, but also held out the possibility of competing again in the Memorial, the tournament he hosts each year in Dublin, Ohio.
Nevertheless, after shooting a second straight 73 on the Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate, the winner of six Masters, five PGAs, four U.S. Opens and three British Opens looked tired.
'I want to end as a golfer, not as a worn-out celebrity. And that's the way I'm ending it, and I don't like that,' he said. 'I want to end it as a golfer, to play my best.'
The gallery was not alone in feeling a nostalgic tug.
'As I walked to the 18th hole, as I hit my tee shot, I thought, `Yeah, this is probably going to be the last tournament round of golf I play here in the United States,'' he said.
The man whose golf has brought so much pleasure to so many millions no longer enjoys the game himself.
When his final round was suspended by rain on Sunday, he was 3 under - and excited. His goal was to shoot 65 - his age.
'I'd like to have people see me play my best, or at least reasonable,' he said. 'But I managed to go out and three-putt, and make bogey, then three-putted the third hole and three-putted the sixth hole and played my way off into oblivion. It's not a whole lot of fun to do that.'
It's not as though he feels he must win every time.
'I don't have to win the golf tournament, but just to play halfway decent so I can enjoy it and they can enjoy seeing part of me that's still there,' he said.
'I think it's very sad watching old boxers getting blown around in the ring and things like that. That's why I'm wanting to quit while I still have the semblance of a golf game.
'I just wish I'd used it. I'm a lot better golfer than I played today, or this week.'
There is no possibility, he said with a laugh, of somehow recapturing that old magic and deciding to return to tournament golf.
'No,' he said. 'I'm going to win the British Open and then retire.'
Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.
Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.
"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."
Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.
"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.
Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.
"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
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:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18