'I was hitting balls (on the practice range) and couldn't get past the wedge,' said Nicklaus. 'Actually, I feel pretty good. I'm just so darn sore that I can't make a go.
'I'm sore all down to the bottom of my butt, and that's exactly where it's been for 15 months. And after [therapists] had worked so much on it yesterday, it got so sore. I was hoping that I could make it but I couldn't even sit down this morning.'
Nicklaus opened with a 1-over 71 at Firestone Country Club Thursday and was right in the hunt as players did not go low at the difficult par-70 layout. Friday's round was a different story as he struggled to an 8-over-par 78 and made the cut on the number at plus 9.
Had Nicklaus not made the cut it would have snapped of one the most impressive streaks in his storied career. Nicklaus has never missed a cut in a Senior Tour major, dating back to The Tradition in 1990, a span of 46 consecutive majors. He has withdrawn twice from the Senior Players Championship, once in 1999 after hip replacement surgery and last year because of his back.
'I don't worry about cuts - I'm more interested in hitting good shots,' Nicklaus said after Friday's second round.
Saturday wasn't the first time that Nicklaus was forced to pull out of a tournament at Firestone, where he has won seven events including the 1975 PGA Championship. He withdrew after three rounds of the 1980 World Series of Golf because of back pain.
Full-field scores from the Senior PGA Championship