PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Honda Classic fans were treated to a rare Golden Bear sighting between the ropes.
Jack Nicklaus, 70, teed it up Wednesday with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Hall of Famer and former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino and saxophonist Kenny G in the Honda Classic Kenny G Gold Pro-am at PGA National.
“My game is not for public consumption anymore,” Nicklaus said before heading off to the first tee. “When I play now, I try to hide in the corner somewhere.”
Nicklaus didn't hide very well in Hawaii in January. He teamed with Tom Watson to win the Champions Skins Game. He seemed intent Wednesday on having some fun with his playing partners. Brees brought out Nicklaus' affection for Ohio State, the Golden Bear's former school.
“Drew Brees had a great year this year, even if he was a Purdue guy,” Nicklaus said. “But he was a Big Ten guy, so that’s good.”
Brees, MVP in the Saints’ Super Bowl victory against the Indianapolis Colts in South Florida a month ago, says he plays to a 3-handicap when he's playing regularly, which is a shot better than Marino. Brees said after reaching the height of NFL achievement, he appreciates Nicklaus' ability to sustain his excellence over time in winning 18 professional majors.
“To play the length of time he’s played, you have to sit back and say, `Wow, that’s so difficult,’” Brees said. “Once you get to a certain level, to stay at that level, because you know everyone is gunning for you, you need your best performance every time out in order to succeed. What he's been able to accomplish in his lifetime is unbelievable.”
Brees showed some game at the first tee, pounding a large power fade down the middle of the first fairway past Nicklaus, Marino and Kenny G.