Jacks Playing Days May Be Numbered

By George WhiteFebruary 13, 2004, 5:00 pm
NAPLES, Fla. -- Poor Jack Nicklaus. He had hoped for some time that he would see a sign ' any sign ' that he was playing well enough again to compete for victories on the Champions Tour. Well, this year, at age 64 hes finally demonstrated it. But alas, his back is so problematic that he cant be sure if he will ever play again.

Nicklaus is entered in the ACE Group Classic in Naples, Fla. But that is the only tournament he plans to play as of this moment. He shot his age ' 64 ' in an unofficial round last month in the Senior Skins Game. He came close to contending at the MasterCard Championship recently. Same thing with the Skins, where only a late birdie by Tom Watson prevented him from winning.

But, he says, he cant trust a balky back to enable him to plan a golf schedule more than a week at a time.

I never know from day to day, he says, adding that these days, hes never sure what to expect when he puts his peg in the ground. Some days its the Jack of old. Some days, its just old Jack.

I went to Hawaii (for the Skins and the MasterCard) expecting not to play well, Nicklaus said, and I played well. I actually felt good, hit the ball well, putted the ball decently. I walked off shooting three good rounds, even had a chance to win the golf tournament if Id finished it up properly.

So, whats the problem?

At the end of last year when I finished 10th at the JELD-WEN Tradition, I thought I played a pretty darn good tournament ' but I finished 10th. I said, Maybe its time to hang up your spikes.

Maybe its still time to hang up my spikes, but Ill still let them get a little rustier and see how effective they are and figure it out as I go.

One major problem for the back is playing on multiple days. Nicklaus figures he can post a good score on any given day. However, golf tournaments, even on the Champions Tour, are three days. Throw in the Wednesday and Thursday pro-ams, and you have five straight days of torqueing up in the golf swing. Generally, thats been too much for Jack.

Its not fun playing competitive golf if youre not competitive, said Nicklaus. I cant practice too much. The body hurts if I play each day. I dont want to play golf every day because there are other things I want to do.

Of course, some people will say this is the same song, 50th verse. Nicklaus has, indeed, expressed these same sentiments in the past. And, of course, the expectations are still the same this week ' he believes there is only one reason to play, and he is going to play.

My expectations are to win, Nicklaus reiterated. Ive had six years of disappointment. But I hope to win every time I play.

And, should this week be the last time he plays ' or should the next time, or the next time ' he already has his life planned out how he wants to spend his time.

I used my boat five days last year, Jack said. Id like to use it a bit more. Ive got a lot of golf course (design) work that I enjoy ' which I probably do a little better than I play golf. My boys are involved a lot in certain aspects of what Im doing. Id like to be involved with what theyre doing.

'My wife, Barbara, has spent the weekends watching me play golf. I think, somewhere in my life, it would be nice if I spent the weekend doing something shed like to do.
 
Related links:
  • Full-Field Scores - The ACE Group Classic

  • Full Coverage - The ACE Group Classic

  • TGC Airtimes
  • Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

    The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

    Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

    Lexi Thompson:

    Baking time!!

    A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

    David Feherty:

    Jack Nicklaus:

    GC Tiger Tracker:

    Steve Stricker:

    Golf Channel:

    Frank Nobilo:

    Ian Poulter:

    Tyrone Van Aswegen:

    Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

    Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

    Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

    By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

    Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

    Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

    Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

    “Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

    Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

    “When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

    Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

    “Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

    In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

    “Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

    Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

    “The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

    Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

    “Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

    Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

    Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

    LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

    Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

    Christina Kim:

    LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

    LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

    LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

    LPGA pro Jennie Lee: