Only Jack Should Decide

By George WhiteJuly 14, 2005, 4:00 pm
Will he, or wont he? That is the question most of us want to know, although in the final analysis there is absolutely no need for an answer.
 
Jack Nicklaus plays the British Open one final time, and people are all atwitter trying to decide if it will be the last time we will see the golfing icon in a tournament. There are plenty of reasons to believe it ' Jack himself seems to have said so during a recent promotional visit to Britain; after all, he IS 65 now; and the days are long gone when he was even a remote threat to win.
 
Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus remains a favorite of fans from all generations.
People have compared it to Willie Mays playing one final year at 43 in a New York Mets uniform, Michael Jordan missing a slam dunk while playing at age 40 for the Washington Wizards, Muhammad Ali losing to Trevor Bobick while shuffling out one final time at 39.
 
But there is a world of difference. Its not one-on-one in golf ' theres no pitcher blowing one right by your flailing bat, no one standing there about to swat back your jumper, no young pug pounding your head into a bloody mess. Its you, the golf course ' and the fans. And the fans dont care if Jack Nicklaus is 65. No one cares if a good day for him is a round of 75.
 
That, though, doesnt account for the man himself. Nicklaus insists he doesnt want to just stick around and whack a golf ball, walking around the course in the adulation of thousands. If someone pays to see Jack Nicklaus, he says, they should get to see Jack Nicklaus.
 
This is the man who gently poked fun at Arnold Palmer for sticking around forever when most his age had already left the party and locked the door. Jack sees how hard it is now. He is battling an awfully strong urge to keep playing. The sane man says stop now, you will never win again. The insane man says, please, give it one more shot ' you never know when you will discover something that unleashes the young Jack one more time.
 
Millions of golf fans are urging, even insisting, that he stay. Nicklaus, though, is fighting what to him has always been the ultimate insult ' being nothing but a ceremonial golfer, as he calls it.
 
I don't really pay much attention to the ceremonial part until it becomes ceremonial, until I no longer become a competitive golfer, he says.
 
Sure, it will have its moments for me, but it's really hard to understand. I don't understand sometimes what goes around in my head. But my head says, Hey, I can play this golf course, and I'm going to go play. And that to me is not ceremonial. So as long as my head stays that way, then I'm not worried about the other part of it at this point.
 
Hmmm does it sound like twiddle-dee or twiddle-dum? How about this: I love playing golf. Don't get me wrong, because I do and there's nothing I've enjoyed more in my life than playing golf and being competitive and being part of what's going on.

Hooray! If youve never seen Nicklaus play, maybe there is still hope!
 
But then he douses it with:
 
When you're not part of the competitive part of it, it loses its glow. And I haven't been part of the competitive part of it for several years now, realistically.
 
And to try and somewhat have to keep a golf game in shape - because I'm going to play The Masters next year or play in the British Open next year, or I'm going to play half a dozen senior tournaments or whatever I'm going to do - isn't a lot of fun. Because you know that you're not playing very well, you don't have any desire to work at it, you know you don't have a game that is going to be what you want. So the glow just sort of falls away from it.
 
Hes started to thoroughly enjoy having the whole Nicklaus clan over for dinner on Sunday. He thoroughly enjoys taking off on a whim and fishing in Alaska, in Australia, somewhere in the Rockies. He has a golf course design business to occupy his time, too. And practice is painful for him ' his back, his hip, his shoulder. So why do it?
 
Why, indeed, he questions?
 
Over the last couple of years I've started to spend more time doing other things and just say the heck with golf for a couple of months, I'm going to go do something else, he said. I frankly really enjoyed that.
 
If I could still play golf and could get organized and could go play, I'd certainly do that. I've tried a little bit over the last few years to do that, but I know my golf game isn't the same. My body doesn't like it.

Then, he lets a little sliver of light in on his persona, the persona that used to be totally a golfer.
 
I go home and I have a hard time filling a little bit of the void at home because when I'm at home before, I go to the office, I do my things I'm doing at home. But I always used to always go to the golf course, too, and get myself ready for the next time I play. And I go home now, I'm not getting myself ready for the next time I play, and what am I going to do today? I've got a little bit of that.

No one who has not been there will ever know how difficult it is to retire from the thing you love. Jack Nicklaus loves his family, he loves his fishing, he loves his business, he loves just puttering around. But there is one other thing ' he truly, dearly, loves golf.
 
For 45 years, he has been Jack Nicklaus. And he cant let go. And, come to think of it, why should he paint himself into a corner with no way out?
 
If Jack wants to play, has even the slightest inkling anytime in the future that he can play ' he should play! He has earned that many times over.
 
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Related Links:
  • Scorecard - Jack Nicklaus
  • Full Coverage - British Open
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.