Nicklaus Has Designs on the World
'You have 1,000 miles of 17 Mile Drive,' Nicklaus said, referring to the road that winds through Pebble Beach. 'I've flown in a helicopter up and down this property for 10 years, and I just see golf course after golf course after golf course that could be done.'
When the laughter subsided, Nicklaus added, 'Frankly, a lot of them will be done and are being done.'
Nicklaus Design recently opened its second golf course in South Africa (Pearl Valley), and has four others scheduled to open in the next three years. One of them is a joint venture with Ernie Els; another will be the first 'Bear's Best' course to be built outside the United States.
But Nicklaus has designs on more than just South Africa.
As 2003 came to a close, Nicklaus signed contracts to build golf courses in a dozen countries on the six continents where golf is played, such as South Korea, Brazil and Russia, which will be only the second 18-hole course in Moscow.
Nicklaus Design has 33 courses under construction, 17 of them overseas.
'Things slowed a little here at the start of last year,' Nicklaus said. 'And when the markets are slow, you look outside the country - Mexico, Europe, Asia. Places that haven't been very active are now more active. And we needed that to supplement what we're doing. It's far more than we ever thought.'
Over the last five years, no more than 10 percent of his design business was outside North America. This year, about 40 percent of the business was overseas.
Europe is particularly attractive.
Nicklaus has 15 golf courses in Europe, eight of which have been open for at least 10 years. Now, his company has 15 courses under construction on the continent, including nine in Spain.
'We signed more (golf course projects) in Europe this year than the last seven years combined,' said Tim Kenny, executive vice president of Nicklaus Design. 'Spain is very strong. It's the Florida of Europe, and people recognize that's where they want to be.'
This isn't the first time Nicklaus has gone global.
His first international courses were La Moraleja in Spain and Glen Abbey near Toronto, both in 1976. The Australian Golf Club in Sydney opened a year later.
Eight years passed before he opened another course outside the United States - Britannia Golf Club in Grand Cayman - but his overseas work really took off in the '90s.
He opened 82 courses from 1992 through 1998, and 47 of them were built outside North America. The majority of those were in Asia, where the economy was booming. That didn't last.
'Asia in the late '90s just died,' Nicklaus said. 'We did nothing in five years. Now, it's starting to come back.'
Nicklaus Design recently reopened its Hong Kong office when it started getting more leads and inquiries, a sign that demand for golf courses in Asia was on the rise.
Nicklaus Design sales in Asia this year were five times higher than the end of 2002.
And it's not just resort courses that cater to tourists.
Kenny says more international courses are serving the local market, and China and South Korea are among those moving toward golf course communities.
'They watch TV, they travel,' Kenny said. 'They see what we have, and they want it.'
They see a lot of Nicklaus courses wherever they go.
Nicklaus became interested in golf courses in 1966, the year he completed the career Grand Slam at age 26. He tagged along with architect Dick Wilson during the redesign of Scioto in Columbus, Ohio, and was hooked.
He first project was teaming with Pete Dye in 1970 to build Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C. (site of the MCI Classic), and Nicklaus Design now has 262 courses open for play around the world.
His courses have hosted more than 400 tour events, including four majors and a Ryder Cup.
Clearly, the Nicklaus name carries weight.
'My game gave me the opportunity to get involved in design,' he said. 'People look at me as a golfer. They don't know what I do design-wise, but obviously, I have a lot of name recognition in a lot of these countries.'
It's not just Nicklaus doing the work.
He has 10 design associates, who have been with him for the last 20 years. His three sons - Jack II, Steve and Gary - and son-in-law Bill O'Leary also work for Nicklaus Design, and each have left their mark.
Nicklaus said one of his proudest moments this year was when courses designed by Gary and Steve were ranked in the top 10 in the country among new private courses.
'I'm not going to build golf courses forever,' Nicklaus said. 'But I'm trying to build an organization so when I want to retire, the company will move on.'
Right now, it's moving all over the world.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Glover trails Straka at Web.com Tour Championship
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Sepp Straka moved into position Saturday to earn a PGA Tour card in the Web.com Tour Championship, shooting a 7-under 64 to take the third-round lead.
With the top 25 earners in the four-event Web.com Tour Finals getting PGA Tour cards Sunday, Straka birdied the final three holes to reach 18-under 195 - a stroke ahead of Curtis Luck, Lucas Glover and Denny McCarthy at Atlantic Beach Country Club.
''It's always good to get an extra birdie in late. I got three of them to finish, which was nice,'' Straka said. ''It's very bunched up there, so you can't really take off, you've got to keep the pedal down and see where you end up at the end.''
Straka entered the week tied for 80th in the card race with $2,744. The 25-year-old former Georgia player from Austria won the KC Golf Classic in August for his first Web.com Tour title. He finished 31st on the money list to advance to the four-tournament series.
''My ball-striking is really good,'' Straka said. ''It's been good all week. It's been really solid. I really haven't gotten in a whole lot of trouble and have been able to capitalize on a good number of chances with the putter. Hit a couple of bad putts today, but some really good ones to make up for it.''
Luck also shot 64. The 22-year-old Australian went into the week 16th with $41,587.
''Obviously, it just comes down to keeping that momentum going and trying not to change anything,'' Luck said. ''That's the really important thing and I felt like I did that really well. I played really aggressive on the back nine, still went after a lot of shots and I hit it close a lot out there.''
Glover had a 68. The 2009 U.S. Open champion entered the week 40th with $17,212.
McCarthy shot 67. He already has wrapped up a card, earning $75,793 in the first three events to get to 11th in the standings.
The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.
Woods, McIlroy in Sunday super group in finale
ATLANTA – Rory McIlroy has made known his disdain for “super groups” in early tournament rounds.
Well, he’s now got one on Sunday at the Tour Championship. And it doesn’t get more super than this.
McIlroy will play alongside Tiger Woods in the final pairing, in the final round at East Lake Golf Club. Woods leads McIlroy – and Justin Rose – by three shots.
“All I can do is worry about myself,” McIlroy said. “It doesn't matter who it is I'm playing with. It's obviously exciting for the golf tournament. It's exciting for golf, in general, that he's up there. But for me, all I can do is concentrate on myself. The game is hard enough without having to – without looking at other people. Go out there, take care of my business, and hopefully that's good enough.”
This is the fifth time that McIlroy and Woods have been grouped this year. They were alongside one another in the first two rounds of the Genesis Open and the first two rounds of the PGA Championship.
In the four previous rounds, McIlroy finished better twice, Woods once, and they tied once.
“It's going to be fun. We haven't done that much of late, because I've not been there,” Woods said of going head-to-head with McIlroy for a title. “He has been there, and he's won a bunch of tournaments. So it's nice for us to go back out and play against one another, be in the mix.”
We know Woods will be wearing his traditional red in the final round. As for McIlroy?
"I think I'll wear red," McIlroy joked. "No, geez, I've regretted wearing black out here today. It was hot."
They go out at 2:05 p.m. ET.
Stricker, Jobe share lead in Sioux Falls
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Steve Stricker and Brandt Jobe topped the Sanford International leaderboard again Saturday after another cool and breezy day in the inaugural PGA Tour Champions event.
After matching Jerry Smith and David McKenzie with first-round 7-under 63s, Striker and Jobe each shot 67 to get to 10-under 130 at Minnehaha Country Club.
''It was a challenge out there today,'' Stricker said. ''It was gusty, the wind came out of the south, where we played yesterday it was out of the north, so it was a totally different golf course.''
Jobe made an 18-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th, and Stricker missed a 6-footer to leave them tied.
''It's pretty straightforward off the tee and the greens are what make it difficult at times and you've just got to be in the right spot to have good birdie putts at it,'' Stricker said. ''If not, then you've got to play pretty defensive at times. ... It's a simple game plan, but try to stay out of trouble and keep trying to put pressure on everybody.''
Stricker won in Arizona and Mississippi in consecutive starts in May for his first senior victories. Next week in France, he will be one of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk's assistants.
Jobe birdied four of the last five holes. He won last year in Iowa for his lone senior title
''I think we kind of got used to what the wind was,'' Jobe said. ''Of course, there's some scoring holes on the back. The front played very difficult. It was just kind of try not to screw up for a while there.''
Smith was a stroke back after a 68.
Scott McCarron also had a 68 to get to 8 under. Woody Austin was 7 under after a 64.
McKenzie had a 77 to drop into a tie for 43rd at even par.
Final-round tee times: Tiger, Rory in last pairing
It's Tiger Woods. It's Rory McIlroy. It's the final pairing in the final round of the Tour Championship.
Here's a look at tee times for Sunday at East Lake Golf Club.
(All times ET)
11:45AM: Patrick Reed (+8), Phil Mickelson (+11)
11:55AM: Keegan Bradley (+5), Bubba Watson (+5)
12:05PM: Brooks Koepka (+4), Francesco Molinari (+4)
12:15PM: Kevin Na (+2), Patrick Cantlay (+2)
12:25PM: Bryson DeChambeau (+2), Cameron Smith (+2)
12:35PM: Jason Day (E), Rickie Fowler (E)
12:45PM: Marc Leishman (E), Patton Kizzire (E)
12:55PM: Tommy Fleetwood (-2), Hideki Matsuyama (-1)
1:05PM: Justin Thomas (-4), Webb Simpson (-3)
1:15PM: Gary Woodland (-4), Xander Schauffele (-4)
1:25PM: Aaron Wise (-4), Dustin Johnson (-4)
1:35PM: Tony Finau (-5), Billy Horschel (-5)
1:45PM: Jon Rahm (-6), Paul Casey (-5)
1:55PM: Justin Rose (-9), Kyle Stanley (-6)
2:05PM: Tiger Woods (-12), Rory McIlroy (-9)