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Even Nicklaus learned some lessons the hard way

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SAN FRANCISCO – Jack Nicklaus is obviously the greatest champion in the history of golf. But to become a great champion, you must learn great lessons along the way. Nicklaus shared one of his most valuable lessons Wednesday at The Olympic Club and it came as a 13-year-old at a USGA championship.

Nicklaus’ first USGA championship was the U.S. Junior Amateur in Southern Hills in 1953 and he was the youngest player in the field.

“I’ll never forget walking up on the first tee, about 30 seconds before my starting time,” Nicklaus recalled. “On the tee was (then USGA executive director) Joe Dey and Colonel Lee S. Reed in his white suit with his little goatee. He looked like the Kentucky Fried Chicken guy.

“Joe Dey said ‘young man, 30 seconds later you’ll be starting on the second tee, 1 down.’ That was my introduction to USGA golf. I promise you, I was never late for a starting time.”