Memorial May Signal The End for Jack

By Golf Channel NewsroomJune 1, 2004, 4:00 pm
Jack Nicklaus golf tournament will live on long after he has quit playing. The Memorial has become one of the PGA Tours premier events, drawing a powerful field from both national and international players.
 
Jack Nicklaus himself, though, may not be a competitor much longer. He played then withdrew last week in the Senior PGA Championship. He plays The Memorial this week, as he has since its inception in 1976. He talks like he might play one more British Open when that tournament returns to St. Andrews next year. But beyond that, he has absolutely no plans to play competitively.
 
Well ' maybe The Memorial.
 
Jack is seriously considering wrapping up his career at age 64.
 
This will probably be my last week of playing what I consider tournament golf,' Nicklaus said at a news conference at the tournament.
 
Why?
 
'I look at the game and I say, 'Do I want to play golf?' Yeah, I love to play golf. 'Do I love to play competitive golf?' Sure, there's nothing I like doing better, nothing I like more. But I don't think I'm competitive anymore.
 
'I said I'd play as long as I'm competitive and as long as I enjoy it. And I think they sort of go hand in hand. I don't enjoy preparing for a golf tournament. I don't enjoy preparing my game and concentrating on doing that, and obviously there's no excuse for not being prepared.'
 
Nicklaus sounds more and more like he is serious. The Memorial is played at Muirfield Village, a course Nicklaus designed, near Columbus, Ohio, where Nicklaus was raised.
 
And it may well be where Nicklaus wraps up his regular playing career.
 
'I may pick out Augusta next year to play,' he said. 'I'll probably play Memorial here again sometime. I might play next year. I might go play 2005 at St. Andrews, but I might not. I don't know what I'm going to do.
 
'After this week I'm going to concentrate on fishing and I'm not going to concentrate on another golf tournament. If I decide I want to go play one, I'll go play one, but I'll just have fun with it. I'm not going to spend my time preparing to play golf. '
 
Nicklaus has found plenty of other interests to occupy his time besides golf. There are other things in other places that he wants to explore. But Mother Nature has largely robbed him of the fit body needed to compete. And age has robbed him of the desire to play tournamemnt golf. But it has given him far greater things.
 
'I enjoy my golf course design, I think I'm far better at that than I am at playing right now,' said Nicklaus. 'I enjoy the competition - of all the places I want to go and a lot of the work I'm doing. I've got a lot of great streams and flats and so forth to finish (in fishing), and frankly I can do that better than I can play golf right now. And I enjoy it and I don't have to worry about preparing for it because that's not my livelihood or something.
 
'I haven't spent very much time with my grandkids. I'm home watching baseball games and stuff like that, but I haven't spent time with them. I've played golf all my life. I don't need to play golf anymore. Not that I don't enjoy it, I love it, but it's just I've had enough.'
 
Kenny Perry is the defending champion at The Memorial. He caused quite a stir last year when he won the week before at the Bank of America Colonial, then won here the very next week.
 
How?
 
I kinda made a pact with myself, said Perry. Every time I've won in my career, the next week I've played very poorly, celebrating too much.
 
I don't know what it was, but I made a deal with myself that I wanted to be competitive at the Memorial. I never thought I was gonna win, but I wanted to get back in that mold, and get that energy I had and try to get out there and see what I could do. The next thing I know, I shoot 32 on the front nine on Sunday at the Memorial, and I've got a five-stroke lead with nine to play again.
 
So it was a pretty incredible two weeks for me, knowing that you're playing against the best in the world and you've got an eight-stroke lead (at Colonial) and a five-stroke lead (at Memorial.) It's something that you don't hear of much.
 
You know, Tiger had those stretches where he was winning by 15 or 12 strokes, but usually it's a playoff or you win by one or two out here. It was just a magical two weeks.
 
Related links:
  • This Week's Field
  • Full Coverage - Memorial Tournament
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.