Nicklaus enjoys mentoring PGA Tour's new generation

By Doug FergusonApril 19, 2016, 10:21 pm

Justin Thomas could sense his expectations getting higher and his game going nowhere.

He was coming off a strong rookie year in 2015, contending a half-dozen times before breaking through for his first PGA Tour victory in Malaysia in October. But then he started the new year in a rut, and Thomas knew just what to do - no matter how awkward it might have seemed.

He asked Jack Nicklaus if he could come over to his house to talk.

''Very weird,'' Thomas said about making a call to the 76-year-old owner of 18 major championships. ''I was nervous to do it, but it was the coolest thing when I first met him. We had lunch before I got in The Bear's Club, and for someone of his status and how comfortable I felt around him, I give him a lot of credit for that. He didn't try to intimidate me or make me feel uncomfortable. As soon as you're around him, you're not nervous. It really speaks to his character.''

Nicklaus designs and builds golf courses. His business enterprise includes everything from wine to ice cream. He is heavily involved in the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation. And in his latest role, he is a mentor to a burgeoning class of young golfers.

And he loves it.

''I don't know why they do it. They seem to think it's going to help them,'' Nicklaus said with a wink and a smile. ''I get a big kick out of it, sure. Why would you not get a big kick out of it? I'm 76 years old and I've got a 22-year-old kid coming here asking me for advice.

''How many 22-year-olds ask anybody for advice?''

Jordan Spieth spent time with him before his first Masters. Charl Schwartzel met with Nicklaus before he won the green jacket. So did Trevor Immelman.Rory McIlroy talks shop with the Golden Bear all the time, though rarely about the Masters. (Note to McIlroy: The man has six green jackets.)

''Just like approaching any of the greats of the game, one can be intimidated a little bit,'' Spieth said. ''But every time I've spoken to him, he's been very open and willing to help me. I think he's just rooting for the game of golf. It's not just me. He's doing it for everyone that I've seen around him.

''He's certainly been in our shoes, and we haven't quite been in the shoes that's he's been in,'' Spieth said. ''It's very, very nice of him, and I've enjoyed my time.''

Patrick Rodgers was at Muirfield Village two years ago to receive the Jack Nicklaus Award as college p layer of the year. Nicklaus stuck around to meet with Rodgers and the rest of the winners from various college divisions. Before leaving, he looked Rodgers right in the eye and told him, ''You ever need anything at all, just call me.''

Nicklaus didn't break eye contact until Rodgers nodded back.

Rodgers is on the growing list of young players who have taken Nicklaus up on his offer. That includes Jordan Niebrugge, who reached out to Nicklaus when he qualified for the 2014 Masters as the U.S. Public Links champion. A year later, Nicklaus sent him a hole-by-hole crib sheet on how to play St. Andrews when Niebrugge made it through local final qualifying for the British Open. Maybe it was a coincidence, but Niebrugge tied for sixth and was low amateur.

At their age, Nicklaus learned by watching more than listening. He would study the practice of Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Julius Boros and Tommy Bolt and try to learn through imitation. It's different now. Nicklaus said he was lucky to see the greats twice a year. He sees these kids all the time, particularly at his Bear's Club in South Florida, where several of them now are members.

He doesn't teach anyone how to play golf. He just talks. And they listen.

''Justin came and we talked for a couple of hours. Just talked,'' Nicklaus said. ''I don't want to tell him what to do. I let him ask questions and I tried to feel how he's doing and what he's doing and how can I help his thought process. That's more what it was about.''

Nicklaus played his final major 11 years ago at St. Andrews. He was Presidents Cup captain for the last time in 2007.

He remains relevant, especially to the next generation.

''I've had a lot of guys come to me. Most of them are afraid to approach me,'' Nicklaus said. ''To have all these young guys want to listen to something an old man has to say? It's very flattering, and it's also very nice that they want to do that.''

Conversations can last a few minutes (Spieth) to a few hours (Thomas).

And sometimes, the education goes beyond golf.

''I walked in his house and I had my hat on,'' Thomas said. ''We sat down and he said, 'I hate to be that guy, but is it raining in here?' He laughed and said, 'Why do you have your hat on?' I forgot to take it off. I felt like an idiot.''

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”