Nicklaus Saying Goodbye to Augusta

By Associated PressApril 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Jack Nicklaus stood alone on the ninth green, taking a long look at the cheering crowd before dipping his head and brushing away the tears.
 
So much of his legacy was forged at the Masters, a simple goodbye somehow seemed inadequate. This was what the 65-year-old, six-time champion wanted, though. No ceremonial last round, no grand sendoff.
 
Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus sheds a few tears on his final hole Saturday at Augusta National.
A few minutes of applause, a hug from his oldest son, and then he was gone, walking off the course at Augusta National for what he says is the last time.
 
'I don't think I'll play in the tournament again,' Nicklaus said Saturday after shooting a 4-over 76 and missing the cut by five strokes.
 
'I think it's fine to go ahead and say goodbye and so forth and so on, but I think you say goodbye when you think you can still play a little bit. I think I can play a little bit, but I can't play well enough to be playing.'
 
There was a time when nobody played better. Certainly not at the Masters.
 
Nicklaus won six of his 18 majors here (1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975 and 1986), two more green jackets than Arnold Palmer. He was the first to win in consecutive years, and still holds the record as the oldest champion for his last victory at age 46.
 
'It's a special place,' said Nicklaus' wife, Barbara. 'It's been a special place for a lot of years.'
 
But it's no longer his place. The Golden Bear hasn't made the cut since 2000, and hasn't been in contention since he tied for sixth in 1998. Unlike Palmer, he never wanted a ceremonial sendoff, loathing the idea that he might have stayed too long.
 
'This is not a celebrity walk-around,' he said. 'This is a golf tournament. It's a major golf championship. If you're going to play in this championship, you should be competitive and you should be able to compete with who is out there.'
 
He had planned to make 2004 his last year. But after the March 1 drowning death of his 17-month-old grandson, Jake, chairman Hootie Johnson coaxed Nicklaus into coming back one more time.
 
After playing several rounds with his sons the last few weeks, Nicklaus agreed.
 
'I think it was good for everybody,' said his wife, who walked the course with her children and some family friends. 'It's been very heartwarming. Everybody's been wonderful, and the support has been wonderful.'
 
Nicklaus didn't announce this would be his last appearance. Other players didn't even know this was his final round.
 
'Hopefully, he doesn't,' Tiger Woods said when asked about Nicklaus leaving. 'We didn't give him a sendoff.'
 
But Nicklaus wanted to make one last run, not a spectacle of himself.
 
When he started his second round on the 11th hole Saturday morning, his mind was on the three birdies he thought he would need to make the cut. So he set out with son and caddie Jackie, planning to stay until Sunday.
 
'He said, `It's either going to be a 16-hole day or a 34-hole day,'' Jackie said.
 
But he bogeyed three of his first four holes, all but ending his chances. As his score climbed and the numbers he needed to make the cut dropped, fans began doing the math. His galleries grew for his final holes, with appreciative fans standing to applaud every time he walked onto a tee.
 
'If you're a golf fan, you're a Jack Nicklaus fan,' said Mark Tinsley, of Wilmington, N.C., who watched Nicklaus at the seventh green and then made his way over to No. 9. 'If he's not going to make it, I'd like to see his last hole here.'
 
Nicklaus refused to think about the end until it was upon him. After putting his second shot on the par-4 No. 9 within four feet of the pin, he knew there was no tomorrow, and his emotions quickly got the best of him.
 
He and Jackie walked up to the green together and then the son stepped back, making sure his father was front-and-center when he stepped onto the putting surface. Nicklaus looked around, took it all in, then bowed his head to wipe away the tears and compose himself. After all, he still had a putt to make -- a birdie chance, at that.
 
'His eyes were pretty wet as he got on top of that hill. He got me choked up,' playing partner and friend Jay Haas said. 'I wanted him to make that last putt.'
 
But it wasn't to be, as the ball burned the right edge of the cup. The crowd groaned and Nicklaus looked around in exasperation. After he tapped in, there was one last smile and wave.
 
Then he walked to the scorer's shed and turned in his last Masters scorecard.
 
'It's a treasure for me,' Nicklaus said. 'And I'll miss that greatly.'
 
Related Links:
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  • Park collapses; leaderboard chaos at CME

    By Nick MentaNovember 18, 2017, 8:47 pm

    Sung-Hyun Park started the day with a three-shot lead and slowly gave it all back over the course of a 3-over 75, leaving the CME Group Tour Championship and a host of season-long prizes up for grabs in Naples. Here’s where things stand through 54 holes at the LPGA finale, where Michelle Wie, Ariya Jutanugarn, Suzann Pettersen and Kim Kaufman share the lead.

    Leaderboard: Kaufman (-10), Wie (-10), Jutanugarn (-10), Pettersen (-10), Stacy Lewis (-9), Karine Icher (-9), Austin Ernst (-9), Lexi Thompson (-9), Jessica Korda (-9), Pernilla Lindberg (-9)

    What it means: It wasn’t the Saturday she wanted, but Park, who already wrapped up the Rookie of the Year Award, is still in position for the sweep of all sweeps. With a victory Sunday, she would claim the CME Group Tour Championship, the Race to CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and the money title, as she ascends to No. 1 in the Rolex world ranking. Meanwhile, Thompson, too, could take the $1 million and Player of the Year. As those two battle for season-long prizes, a host of other notable names – Wie, Jutanugarn, Pettersen, Korda, Lewis and Charley Hull (-8) – will fight for the Tour Championship.

    Round of the day: Kaufman made four birdies on each side in a bogey-free 8 under-par 64. A lesser-known name on a stacked leaderboard, she seeks her first LPGA victory.

    Best of the rest: Amy Yang will start the final round two behind after a 7-under 65. The three-time LPGA Tour winner could pick up her second title of the season after taking the Honda LPGA Thailand in February.

    Biggest disappointment: On a day that featured plenty of low scores from plenty of big names, Lydia Ko dropped 11 spots down the leaderboard into a tie for 23rd with a Saturday 72. The former world No. 1 needed two birdies in her last five holes to fight her way back to even par. Winless this season, she’ll start Sunday four back, at 6 under.

    Shot of the day: I.K. Kim aced the par-3 12th from 171 yards when her ball landed on the front of the green and tracked all the way to the hole.

    Kim, oddly enough, signed her name to a scorecard that featured a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. It was all part of a 1-under 71.

    Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

    While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

    Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

    By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

    The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

    The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

    Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

    Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

    ''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


    DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

    Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

    Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

    ''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

    The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

    Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

    ''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

    If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.