Were hoping that hes going to be there, Nicklaus said after he received the tours lifetime achievement award Wednesday.
Woods had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee April 15 and was expected to miss at least four weeks while he recovers. His agent, Mark Steinberg, called Nicklaus the day after the operation and said Woods intention was to be at Muirfield Village for the Memorial.
Nicklaus hasnt heard anything since, other than talk that Woods was walking without a limp.
I think hell be just fine, Nicklaus said. I dont think you have to worry too much about him.
Jack Nicklaus sat a few feet behind PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem, listening to him rattle off a list of his accomplishments.
That was pretty glowing, Nicklaus said.
It was just a synopsis, too.
Nicklaus received the tours lifetime achievement award Wednesday, honored for his extended contributions on and off the golf course and for serving as an ambassador of the game.
Clearly, in this sport, Jack Nicklaus is the ultimate lifetime achiever, Finchem said. I dont believe theres one person who works in, plays, watches or appreciates the game of golf, who can say he or she hasnt been touched in some way at some point in time by Jacks competitive fire, his accomplishments, his gracious sportsmanship or his unwavering leadership.
Nicklaus has 73 tour wins, 118 total victories and a record 18 professional majors. He also helped establish the TOUR 40 years ago and has spearheaded countless charitable programs.
Already a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Nicklaus became the eighth recipient of the lifetime achievement award. He joined Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Jack Burke Jr., Pete Dye and Deane Beman.
It means Im getting old, Nicklaus joked. They dont give you a lifetime achievement award unless its near the last thing. It was a very nice thing.
Nicklaus, accompanied by his wife and a host of family members, was presented a silver cup and a portrait that will hang in the clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass.
His acceptance speech lasted nearly 15 minutes and included stories about meeting his wife at Ohio State, delving into golf course design with Dye and his decision to turn pro.
If I want to be the best at it, the only way I could do that was to play against the best, he said. And the only way you can do that is to play against the pros. I turned pro in fall of 61 and obviously have never regretted it. Ive had a wonderful time, a wonderful life.
He also disputed any notions that he was ahead of time and would have been better suited to play against todays competition.
Some say maybe I played too early, maybe we were in the wrong era, Nicklaus said. No, I liked when I played. Id hate to come back and play against these guys today. Theyre all pretty good, especially one of them.
Finchem read congratulatory letters from that one, Tiger Woods, as well as notes from President Bush and former President George H.W. Bush.
I had a great time playing golf, Nicklaus said. I enjoyed it. It carried me to a lot of places. The game has given back to so many.
PINK ON THE LINKS:
Fred Couples sported a slightly different look Wednesday, noticeable only after he hit a shot.
There was pink on the bottom of his shoes.
Couples is among some 50 players who are wearing pink-and-white spikes this week, courtesy of Champ Spikes and its Pink on the Links campaign to raise money and awareness for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Champ chose The Players Championship because it ends on Mothers Day. The company will donate money for every player wearing the pink-and-white spikes at The Players and the Michelob Ultra on the LPGA Tour.