Nicklaus Unsure About Augusta

By Mercer BaggsMarch 21, 2003, 5:00 pm
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Jack Nicklaus was certainly not pleased with his rounds of 82-76 at the Bay Hill Invitational, but it wont affect his decision to play in the upcoming Masters Tournament.
In fact, the six-time champion hasnt yet made up his mind whether or not hell play for the 44th time.
Until I go to Augusta, I cant answer the question on Augusta. Ill go up there shortly, said the 63-year-old.
Nicklaus added that he plans on playing the course some within the next two weeks.
I need to go play the golf course and then Ill make up my mind, not two days before the golf tournament, he said. If I think I can, Ill go play. If this is any indication here, I cant play anything.
Last year, Nicklaus skipped the season's first major for only the second time since 1959 because of back problems. He said he twice played the course a year ago, but wasnt able to perform up to his expectations on the lengthened layout.
The way I was swinging it last year there was no real reason for me ever to go to Augusta. I hit seven or eight woods on the par-4s into the green and Im not going to do that now, he said.
But were all talking about something ridiculous, me playing Augusta, what difference does it make? Im not going to win Augusta. But youre interested and I appreciate that. But I want to go up there and play because Id like to be there, whether I compete or not.
As for his playing schedule outside of The Masters, Nicklaus said he would play one regular Champions Tour event, one Nationwide pro-am with his four sons, the Champions Tour majors, and his own Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour.
I cant imagine me doing much else. I think I probably wore my welcome out on this tour, he said. But, you know, I feel pretty good. I feel like I want to play. I still dont have a very good golf swing yet.
Extended Play
Sixty-one players will resume their second rounds at 7:00 AM Saturday. The 36-hole cut will then be made, with the low 70 players (and ties) advancing to the third round. Groupings for round three will consist of threesomes off the first and 10th tees ' with the third round to be completed around 6:00 PM.
Saturdays forecast calls for partly cloudy skies. There is a 20-percent chance of afternoon showers, according to PGA Tour meteorologist Stewart Williams.
Television Coverage
In the event that NBC News coverage of the war in Iraq preempts Bay Hill coverage, the tournament can be seen on cable affiliate CNBC.
Live coverage is scheduled to air 3-6 PM ET Saturday and 2:30-6 PM Sunday.
If there is a shift in coverage, it shouldnt affect CNBCs airing of the Champions Tour event. The Toshiba Classic is scheduled from 6-8 PM Saturday and Sunday.
Thanks for Nothing
The horn sounded a little too late Friday morning to help Trevor Immelman.
The South African, who started the day in a six-way tie at the top, was leading by two shots, at 5-under, when he bogeyed the par-5 16th, his seventh hole of the day. He then made quadruple bogey-8 at the par-4 18th when he hit two balls into the water.
Play was stopped due to inclement weather while he was on the next hole.
Immelman, who lives in nearby Lake Nona, went on to shoot 80, including a 9 on the par-5 sixth. He is at 5-over-par 149.
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Bay Hill Invitational
  • Full coverage of the Bay Hill Invitational
  • Getty Images

    Watch that time Tiger throttled Ames, 9 and 8

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 4:54 pm

    Nine and eight. Three words that live in golf lore. Just say them and any golf fan can tell you what they mean.

    In the 2006 WGC-Match Play, Tiger Woods faced Stephen Ames in the opening round. Ames, when asked prior to the event about his chance of winning, infamously said, "Anything can happen, especially where he's hitting it."

    What happened on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at La Coasta Resort & Spa, was the most lopsided result in tournament history: 9 and 8 Check out the highlights below:

    After his win, Woods was asked if Ames' comment had motivated him. Woods replied, "9 and 8."

    Woods eventually lost, 1 up, to Chad Campbell in the third round. He then won his next start at Doral and went on to finish the season with six consecutive Tour wins, including The Open and PGA. He also won his first start in 2007 to make it seven consecutive Tour titles.

    Getty Images

    Schedule change, caddie change for Casey at Match Play

    By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 4:12 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Paul Casey originally planned to skip the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, opting for two weeks off before the Masters.

    Those plans changed when he removed the Arnold Palmer Invitational from his schedule and returned home to England last week to attend the funeral of a family friend. That adjustment also prompted a caddie change this week, with Scott Vail stepping in for the Englishman’s normal caddie, John McLaren.

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Tee times

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    “We looked at tickets and it just didn't make sense for Johnny to fly back. We try and base our schedule around playing the best golf possible, but also having quality family time,” Casey said on Tuesday at Austin Country Club. “For Johnny to break up a nice three-week break with his family, there was no point to ruining that.”

    This isn’t the first time Casey, who won the Valspar Championship two weeks ago, has needed a replacement caddie. At last year’s Travelers Championship, McLaren took a similar break and was replaced on the bag by Shannon Wallace. Although it’s not uncommon for caddies to take a week off, McLaren does have one stipulation.

    “The only rule we have is that if Johnny is not going to work, he picks my caddie. So he picked the caddie,” said Casey, who is 20-12-1 in 12 starts at the Match Play and has advanced to the championship match twice.

    Westchester Country Club hosted the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship. (Getty) Getty Images

    Westchester selected to host 2021 U.S. Women's Am

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 3:20 pm

    The USGA announced Tuesday that Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., has been selected to host the 2021 U.S. Women's Amateur. The tournament will be held Aug. 2-8, 2021.

    The club's West Course first hosted the event in 1923, and it boasts a storied history of professional tournaments as well. The PGA Tour hosted the Westchester Classic, later known as the Buick Classic and eventually The Barclays, at Westchester from 1967-2007, including the first-ever FedExCup playoff event, won by Steve Stricker in 2007.

    The course was also the site of the 2011 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship, won by Fred Couples, and the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, won by Inbee Park.

    "The USGA is thrilled to bring the U.S. Women's Amateur to Westchester Country Club for the second time," Stuart Francis, USGA championship committee chairman, said in a release. "One of the USGA's three oldest championships, the Women's Amateur consistently identifies the world's top female players, and we are confident Westchester will provide the ultimate test for the championship's 121st playing."

    First held in 1895, the Women's Amateur is open to players with a USGA handicap index not exceeding 5.4. Sophia Schubert won last year's event at San Diego Country Club, while this year's tournament will be held at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs.

    Getty Images

    Stock Watch: Park rises again, under the radar

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 20, 2018, 12:48 pm

    Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


    Rory (+10%): The massive drives, the fist pumps, the unmistakable strut – McIlroy finally found the spark that he needed to play confident, aggressive golf. Bring on Augusta and his shot at history.

    Tiger (+7%): It was another forgettable end to a final round, but let’s not lose sight of the big picture: Five events into his comeback, Woods has now carded 10 consecutive rounds of par or better – all on tough tracks – and can be viewed as a legitimate threat at the Masters. Remarkable, really.

    Inbee Park (+5%): Fighting injuries and questioning whether she should retire, the Queen ‘Bee routed a top field in just her second start back. Stud.

    Bryson (+3%): When The Machine operates properly, he’s one of the best ball-strikers in the world. Yes, he’s still painfully slow, but there’s no denying his talent – his runner-up against a star-studded field should help him tremendously.

    Laura Davies (+2%): Fifty-four years old and nursing an Achilles injury, she turned back the clock with one of the coolest performances of the young season, on any tour. She’s still got tons of game.


    Henrik Stenson (-1%): Maybe he’s just destined to go winless at Bay Hill. In the past four years, he’s had three excellent chances to win there and came away empty-handed each time.

    Rickie (-2%): Hanging near the lead, Fowler closed his third round bogey-double, then shot 74 in the final round to drop out of the top 10. Sigh.  

    P-Reed (-3%): His whiny protest to a rules official about a free drop – “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth” – got even juicier when the Ryder Cup partners were drawn in the same group at the Match Play. Get your popcorn ready.

    Ted Potter Jr. (-5%): His impressive victory at Pebble Beach over DJ, Phil and J-Day is looking more and more like a fluke each week. He’s now missed four consecutive cuts.

    Fan behavior (-7%): Another week, another player complaining about increasingly hostile spectators. The Tour has (frustratingly) remained quiet on the issue, but the tipping point will come when one of these dopes affects the outcome on the 72nd hole.