Jack Serious about Retirement

By George WhiteJune 1, 2006, 4:00 pm
A cynic would say that the reason Jack Nicklaus is not playing in his Memorial Tournament this week is because the bunkers are all raked with devilish implements which he designed only this year.
 
A realist knows the reason ' or reasons ' goes much, much deeper. Jack Nicklaus not playing in The Memorial? For the first time in 31 years? Suffering succotash, he must really be serious about this retirement thing!
 
And he definitely is. Hes 66 years old and he isnt about to go out there and be embarrassed again. He isnt going to shoot 75-77 and then go sit down. He will be at the tournament, he plans to be plenty visible. But hes not going to put his game on display again for the world to see.
 
Is he really going to skip it for the first time in memory, this tournament which began in 1976 at the site ' Muirfield Village ' that Jack personally purchased?
 
He answered that question with a little funny. I haven't really played the last three or four years, Jack said with an inward chuckle. But I was here.
 
Apparently he really has retired, as opposed to Arnold Palmer, who at age 66 was still playing an occasional tournament. Nicklaus didnt play the Masters this year. He has no plans to play any other tour events. In fact, the last tournament in which he participated was the British Open last year.
 
Jack isnt saying no, definitely not, nada, never again. Even at 66, he reserves the right to play in the Memorial in the future. He isnt about to look foolish should he ever decide to play ' same with the Masters. But on this day, he has no plans to ever grace a tournament field again ' not even as a ceremonial golfer, as he used to describe it. Oh, he might play in the Father/Son tournament, possibly play in a skins game. But not in a full-field event.
 
I'm used to not playing, Nicklaus said, noting that he genuinely likes the idea of watching from the sidelines. The thought of entering the Memorial briefly entered his mind, he says, but it didnt last long.
 
Have you seen me play lately? Jack queried a group of disbelieving reporters at his tournament. I won't feel weird at all. It will be a pleasure not to play. I played Saturday, we had our Memorial club play. I played the back tees on Saturday and I cruised around here with 77, just easy as can be.
 
Its a far different lifestyle that Nicklaus leads compared to when he was still a player. And ' he loves it.
 
I haven't done anything, all I've done is sit around and eat and get fat, that's all, said Nicklaus with a chuckle. I'm enjoying my work. I'm absolutely loving what I'm doing.
 
I'm traveling twice as much as I ever traveled, going to places I never would have gone to before, doing things that don't require me to make sure that I watch what I do here, and watch what I do this, and make sure that because I've got a tournament coming up, I've got to make sure that I'm building myself for this. I'm kind of enjoying this. I've done that for 40 or 50 years, whatever it was, and I'm enjoying not doing it.
 
He enjoys being the host at Memorial. He likes to play a casual round or two with the guys, busy himself with all the business details of the tournament.
 
However, hes played just nine rounds since the British Open last July, and all of those, of course, were for fun only. Walking 18 holes in a tournament would be difficult, he says. Walking any length in golf shoes is difficult, incidentally.
 
He has a pair of shoes he says he played 25 rounds of golf in, back when he was playing in a tournament every now and then. He wore them at an outing with sponsors last week, and I've got Band Aids on every toe from Saturday. It was ridiculous. I said, What is this?
 
I had blisters all over the place. It's kind of crazy that you wouldn't think about your feet from that standpoint. Lugging around an extra 15 pounds is not a lot of fun. I've lugged around those pounds for a long time. Obviously if I'm working and all the other things, I'm not walking and doing the things I would to keep in shape.
 
Jack, though, makes the supreme confession when he admits that, I'd love to still be playing golf, because I love playing golf. Once you can't play, and once you feel like physically you just can't do it, and then you get away from it and all of a sudden you try to play a little bit, and you say, Wow, this is an ordeal.
 
If I came back, I'd want to be representative at least a little bit to play and enjoy it and not come out here and shoot a pair of 85s and say, Gee, I was a nice host. I'd like to play decent and make the cut and be part of what's going on, or I'm not going to do that. I made the decision next year to be here and be part of it, but I'm not just going to go out and clutter up the field.
 
Theres considerable debate about whether Jack Nicklaus ever cluttered up a field when he entered a tournament. But, as he says, he will never be just a ceremonial golfer. And it doesnt matter that he would be doing golf a wonderful favor by entering. He wont do it, and thats that. In his life, there just isnt time, anyway.
 
Before, I just squeezed in some golf, too. But I started here at 11:00 this morning. I didn't do that in previous years. I would come in maybe at another time, prior to our captain's club meeting, but I would have played golf before that, said Jack.
 
I actually get to sleep this week.

Email your thoughts to George White
Getty Images

After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

Getty Images

Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

Getty Images

Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

Getty Images

Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry