Jack Plays Final Round at Augusta

By Mercer BaggsApril 10, 2005, 4:00 pm
There should have been more. There should have been more cheers. There should have been more tears. There should have been more to-do about Jack Nicklaus final* competitive round at Augusta National.
 
But Jack didnt want it that way. He didnt want to take one final ceremonial tour of the grounds that he has dominated like no other and be bothered with applause at every turn, on every swing.
 
Sure he was going to receive as much any how, but it would have been more personal had everyone else known what he knew. He didnt want it to be that way. He wanted to keep some distance between himself and his emotions as he made that final walk ' even if those emotions caught up with him at the finish line.
 
And maybe he didnt fully know himself. Maybe had he made a few more putts or hit a couple of shorter irons into the greens, then maybe he would have sung a different tune after finishing his record 163rd round in the Masters.
 
Or maybe this time it wasnt about Jack Nicklaus the player. Maybe it wasnt about the man who won six Masters Tournaments taking a final bow and bathing in the appreciation of others.
 
Maybe this trip was about some personal therapy. And perhaps that was achieved. And if it was, then maybe, just maybe he thought: Well, Ive done enough here.
 
He says thats it. There most likely will not be another. And there will certainly never be another Nicklaus. Tiger Woods may eventually win more green jackets than Jack, but he will never be Jack. In the same way that Jack was never Arnold Palmer.
 
Truth is: Jack doesnt feel for the fans the way that Arnold does ' not that anyone does. It doesnt mean as much to him that the fans adore him ' never has. If it did, he would have worked so hard early in his career to try and win them over that he never would have become the player that he did.
 
It doesnt make him cold or callused. He still loves his audience, but loves more to give them a good performance. That's always been the most important thing, the performance.
 
He had to be a little more detached. Thats what helped make him the greatest of all time. Nobody has ever played golf better, at least not when it mattered most.
 
We want definition. We want a definitive start and a definitive end. We want to properly celebrate our heroes when that end arrives. We want to give them the adulation we feel they deserve ' and let them know they played a positive part in our lives. It makes us feel good, too.
 
But Nicklaus has gotten that throughout the better part of his life. Hes had enough. He doesn't need it anymore. At least thats what he said.
 
But put an asterisk by Jacks admission that this is it. Hes said this before.
 
Remember, just a month ago there was between slim and none that Jack would make the 69th Masters his 45th.
 
That, however, was a statement born of emotion, said in the aftermath of the death of his 17-month-old grandson. He likes to speak in definitive terms when he gets emotional.
 
Just like he did this Saturday.
 
'You know,' he said in what may well have been his final post-round press conference at Augusta National, 'this is not a celebrity walk-around. This is a golf tournament. It's a major golf championship, and if you're going to play in this championship, you should be competitive and you should be able to be able to compete with who is out there.'
 
Hes long said that he will stop playing when he is no longer competitive. And he hasnt been competitive in this event since 2000. Hes said time and time again that hes played plenty and now its time to devote the majority of his time to wife Barbara and his family.
 
And yet Golf, that siren, keeps calling him back.
 
And he listens. He cant help but listen. He and Golf have this relationship. They have so much respect and love for one another. Theyre both who they are in large part because of one another.
 
Jackie thinks there might be more. His oldest son, the one who carried his bag in the improbable 1986 victory and again in this 77-76 missed cut, says that come next spring his dads desire will blossom with the azaleas.
 
So maybe there is still more to come.
 
If not, then it will have ended Saturday, on the ninth green, unannounced, with a missed 4-foot birdie putt.
 
It just seems like there should have been more. He deserves so much more.
 
Fortunately, this is the Masters, where champions can always compete, if not contend. And there will always be more waiting for him if he ever decides he wants more of it.
 
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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.