Nicklaus sides with USGA's Davis on Open practice

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DUBLIN, Ohio – For all the buzz over Mike Davis’ assessment that a player wouldn’t win the U.S. Open with just a cursory glance of Chambers Bay, Jack Nicklaus seemed to give the U.S. Golf Association’s executive director support on Wednesday.

“I always liked to go into Augusta, go in and play 72 holes, and I liked to shoot a score,” Nicklaus said. “I would go in the week before and I wasn't just hitting balls around, hitting a few extra shots, sure, I kept my first ball, and I always liked to keep a score, and say can I shoot 276, 275 on this golf course under the conditions it's in.”

At media day for this month’s U.S. Open in April, Davis said, “The idea of coming in and playing two practice rounds and having your caddie just walk it and using your yardage book, that person's done. Will not win the U.S. Open.”

Some players have followed Davis’ advice, most recently Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson both took scouting trips to play the Pacific Northwest layout, while others have dismissed the idea of an extended examination.

The push back to Davis’ comment, however, has less to do with an aversion to U.S. Open setups or new venues then it does a modern trend, Nicklaus said.

“Guys today don't even play practice rounds too much, and so it's a different day,” he said.