77 facts about Jack Nicklaus on his 77th birthday

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 21, 2017, 3:54 pm

1. He was born in Columbus, Ohio.

2. His father, Charlie Nicklaus, played football for Ohio State University and later played semi-professionally under an assumed name.

3. Although his father went by Charlie, that was his middle name. His first name was actually Louis.

4. As a 13-year-old, Charlie Nicklaus saw Bobby Jones win the 1926 U.S. Open at Scioto Country Club, where the family would later have a membership.

5. He took up golf at age 10, and shot 51 for the first nine holes he ever played.

6. He first broke 70 at age 13.

7. When he was 13, he had a mild case of polio.

8. His nickname, the Golden Bear, comes from the mascot at his high school, Upper Arlington HS.

9. He ran the 100- and 220-yard dashes as a seventh- and eighth-grader. He ran the 100 in 11 seconds flat.

10. In his senior year of high school, he was an honorable mention All-Ohio selection in basketball as a shooting guard.

Jack Nicklaus during a practice round for the 1959 Walker Cup. (Getty)

11. He lost in the first round of his first U.S. Amateur, in 1955.

12. He first won a tournament against pros in the 1956 Ohio Open.

13. While trying to join a fraternity at Ohio State, he had to eat goldfish.

14. He missed the cut by 10 shots in his first U.S. Open, in 1957.

15. He dropped out of Ohio State after he made the 1959 U.S. Walker Cup team.

16. He lost in the quarterfinals of his only British Amateur, in 1959.

17. He missed the cut by one shot in his first Masters, in 1959.

18. He defeated future PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman in the final of the 1959 Trans-Mississippi Amateur.

19. On his way to winning the 1959 U.S. Amateur, he defeated Bobby Jones' son, Bob Jones III, in the first round.

20. He played on the winning U.S. Walker Cup squad in 1959.

Jack and Barbara Nicklaus during the early years of their marriage. (Getty)

21. On the final day of the 1960 U.S. Open, he was paired with Ben Hogan. Hogan later said Nicklaus should have won the championship by 10 shots.

22. A month after the 1960 U.S. Open, he married Barbara Bash, whom he had met during his first week at Ohio State.

23. He played golf on the morning of his wedding.

24. He picked his wedding date - July 23, 1960 - because it fell during the PGA Championship, for which he was ineligible.

25. On his honeymoon, he played Pine Valley, but unwittingly brought his wife to the all-male club.

26. He began counting the clubs in his bag before every round after his partner in the 1960 Americas' Cup, Deane Beman, was found to have 15 clubs in his bag.

27. In 1961 he won the NCAA Championship and the U.S. Amateur, becoming the first player to win both titles in the same year.

28. He didn't begin pacing off his approach-shot distances until the 1961 U.S. Amateur, when Deane Beman suggested doing it.

29. Early in his career, he sold insurance.

30. He had a rule that he would never be away from home for more than two weeks at a time.

Jack Nicklaus with Arnold Palmer during their 1962 U.S. Open playoff. (Getty)

31. His first money earned as a pro was $75 for giving a speech to an optical company in Columbus.

32. He played in his first PGA event in the 1958 Rubber City Open Invitational at Firestone Country Club. He was one stroke off the lead after 36 holes, but finished 12th.

33. His first check as a pro in a tournament was $33.33 for tying for 50th in the 1962 Los Angeles Open.

34. As a rookie pro he signed with MacGregor Golf to play their clubs. Experimented with an extra-stiff shaft in his driver, but decided to stick with stiff.

35. He credited much of his success as a rookie to a putter given to him by George Low, a Wizard 600.

36. His first PGA Tour win was the 1962 U.S. Open, in which he beat local favorite Arnold Palmer in a playoff at Oakmont.

37. He first saw Arnold Palmer at the 1954 Ohio State Amateur when he was 14.

38. He first played with Palmer in an exhibition match at Athens Country Club in Ohio in 1958.

39. He beat fellow "Big Three" members Palmer and Gary Player in 1962 in the first playing of the World Series of Golf.

40. He tried to return to Ohio State in 1962 to get his degree, but was ordered to withdraw by the dean of the College of Commerce.

Jack Nicklaus with one of his later private jets. (Getty)

41. He used to smoke on the golf course, but quit after seeing himself in a highlights video smoking while putting. He eventually quit altogether.

42. He first met Bobby Jones at the 1955 U.S. Amateur in Virginia.

43. Despite being one of the game's best putters, he considered practicing putting to be "a chore."

44. His longest recorded drive was 341 yards, 17 inches, hit in a long-driving contest before the 1963 PGA Championship.

45. He bought his first private plane in 1964, a twin-engine Aero Commander 680 FL.

46. He took flying lessons, but ultimately decidded that, unlike Arnold Palmer, he would leave the piloting to someone else.

47. In the final round of the 1964 Masters, with Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts watching, he shanked his tee shot at the par-3 12th hole.

48. He topped the 1964 money list by earning $83.13 more than Arnold Palmer.

49. In 1966 he became the first player to successfully defend a Masters title.

50. He was so emotional about winning the Memorial Tournament for the first time in 1977 that he seriously considered retiring. His wife talked him out of it.

Jack Nicklaus in the 1967 U.S. Open at Baltusrol (Getty)

51. He fainted at the first sight of his first three children after they were born.

52. He began his course architecture career working with Pete Dye.

53. He didn't play in the Ryder Cup until 1969 because he was not a Class A member of the PGA of America until 

54. Although the Masters is the major he has most enjoyed playing in, he ranks it fourth among the majors because it is not a "championship."

55. He won the 1967 U.S. Open at Baltusrol using a borrowed putter with a head that had been spray-painted white to eliminate glare. It was known as "White Fang."

56. He compiled 73 PGA Tour victories.

57. He finished second, including ties, 58 times.

58. Worldwide, he won 105 times.

59. He made 20 hole-in-one in competition.

60. He won eight majors on the senior tour.

Jack Nicklaus with the claret jug after winning The Open in 1966. (Getty)

61. Officially, he won $5,690,863 on the PGA Tour.

62. The most money he won in any year on the PGA Tour was $316,911, in 1972.

63. The most money he won in any year on the senior tour was $538,800, in 1995.

64. The most tournaments he won in any year was seven, which he did in 1972 and '73.

65. His lowest stroke average in any year was 69.81, in 1973.

66. He held the outright lead after 54 holes in major eight times and won all eight.

67. In his 18 major championship wins, he held or shared the lead after 54 holes 10 times and came from behind to win eight times.

68. He is one of five players - along with Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan Gary Player and Tiger Woods - to have won the career Grand Slam.

69. He and Tiger Woods are the only players to have won the career Grand Slam three times over.

70. He is the oldest first-round leader in the Masters, having shared the lead with a 67 in 1993 at age 53.

Jack Nicklaus giving his victory speech after winning the 1986 Masters. (Getty)

71. In 163 rounds in the Masters, he averaged 71.98 strokes. That is a record for players with at least 100 rounds played.

62. He holds the record for most Masters wins, 6.

73. He shares the record for most U.S. Open wins (4) with Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan.

74. He has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

75. He shot a 59 during an unofficial event in 1973, the American Cancer Society's Palm Beach Golf Classic, played at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla.

76. He holds the record for most runner-up finishes in majors, 19.

77. He holds the record for most majors won, 18.

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Dunlap, in 'excruciating pain,' shares early Dominion lead

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:29 pm

RICHMOND, Va. – Scott Dunlap and Fran Quinn shot 5-under 67 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Fighting a left wrist injury that will require surgery, Dunlap matched Quinn with a closing birdie on the par-5 18th on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''Maybe excruciating pain is the key to playing good golf because I'm not getting nervous on a shot, you're just trying to get through it,'' Dunlap said. ''The worst parts are gripping it and getting the club started ... that's when that bone hits that bone.''

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.

Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic

The 55-year-old Dunlap entered the week 29th in the standings. Playing through the wrist injury, he's coming off ties for ninth and seventh in his last two starts.

''I think I finally taped it the right way,'' Dunlap said. ''Or maybe it's the pain meds kicking in. I don't know, one of the two.''

Quinn is 64th in the standings.

''I finished up strong last year, too, kind of secured my privileges for the following year making eagle on 18,'' Quinn said. ''I played solid all day. I had a lot of opportunities. A couple hiccups.''

Jay Haas was a stroke back with Kent Jones, Stephen Ames, Woody Austin and Tim Petrovic. The 64-year-old Haas won the last of his 18 senior titles in 2016.

Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, were at 69 with Joey Sindelar, Tom Gillis, Billy MayfairLee Janzen, Glen Day and Gene Sauers.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 70. The 61-year-old German star won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the points lead. He has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland had a 71. He's 14th in the standings. No. 3 Jerry Kelly shot 72. No. 4 Scott McCarron, the 2016 tournament winner, had a 74.

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Weather continues to plague Valderrama Masters

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 7:55 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Marc Warren helped his chances of retaining his European Tour card by moving into a tie for second place behind Englishman Ashley Chesters at the rain-hit Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Friday.

Bad weather interrupted play for a second straight day at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain before darkness caused the second round to be suspended until Saturday, with overnight Chesters still ahead at 5-under.

Weather delays on Thursday, including a threat of lightning, had kept 60 golfers from finishing their opening round. They included Scottish player Warren, who went out on Friday and finished his first round with a 2-under 69.

He then made three birdies to go with one bogey on the first nine holes of the second round before play was halted. He joined Frenchman Gregory Bourdy one shot behind Chesters.

Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters

''I'm hitting the ball as well as I have in a long time,'' Warren said. ''Hitting fairways and greens is the most important thing around here, so hopefully I wake up tomorrow with the same swing.''

Chesters and Bourdy were among several golfers unable to play a single hole in the second round on Friday.

Warren, a three-time European Tour winner, has struggled this season and needs a strong performance to keep his playing privileges for next year.

Currently ranked 144th, Warren needs to break into the top 116 to keep his card.

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Watch: Is this the up-and-down of the year?

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 3:30 pm

Play away from the pin? Just because there's a tree in your way? Not Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Watch him channel some Arnie (or, more appropriately, some Seve) with this shot in the Valderrama Masters:

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Cut Line: Johnny's exit, Tiger's fatigue

By Rex HoggardOctober 19, 2018, 2:06 pm

In this week’s edition we bid farewell to the most outspoken and insightful analyst of his generation and examine a curious new interpretation that will require players to start paying attention to the small print.

Made Cut

Here’s Johnny. After nearly three decades Johnny Miller will hang up his microphone following next year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Miller called his first tournament as NBC Sports/Golf Channel’s lead analyst in 1990 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and he told Cut Line this week that at 71 years old he’s ready to relax and spend time with his 24 grandchildren.

“I was the first guy with an open microphone,” Miller said. “That requires a lot of concentration. It’s not that I couldn’t do it but the handwriting was on the wall; it would be more of a challenge.”

Miller will be missed for his insight as much as his often-blunt deliveries, but it’s the latter that made him one of a kind.

A long ride to the right place. After nearly four years of legal wrangling a group of PGA Tour caddies dropped their class-action lawsuit against the circuit this week.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in early 2015 in an attempt by the caddies to secure marketing rights for the bibs they wear during tournaments as a way to create better healthcare and retirement benefits.

The district court largely ruled against the caddies and that ruling was upheld by an appeals court earlier this year, but better healthcare options may still be in the cards for the caddies.

“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the Association of Professional Tour Caddies.

Sajtinac told Cut Line that the Tour has offered a potential increase to the longtime stipend they give caddies for healthcare and in a statement the circuit said talks are ongoing.

“The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.

It’s rare when both sides of a lawsuit walk away feeling good about themselves, but this particular outcome appears to have ended with a favorable outcome for everybody involved.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

A long haul. Tiger Woods acknowledged what many had speculated about, telling a group this week at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach that his season-ending push and his first victory in five years took a physical toll at the Ryder Cup.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said on Tuesday. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

Woods went 0-4 for the U.S. team in France and appeared particularly tired on Sunday following the European victory at Le Golf National.

For Woods the result was worth the effort with his victory at the Tour Championship ending a five-year drought, but his play and concession that it impacted him at the Ryder Cup does create some interesting questions for U.S. captain Jim Furyk, who sent Woods out for both team sessions on Saturday.

Tweet(s) of the week: @BobEstesPGA (Bob Estes) “I spoke to a past Ryder Cup captain yesterday. We both agreed that there should be a week off before the [Ryder Cup] to adequately rest and prepare.”

Given Woods’ comments this week it seems likely he would agree that a break – which may become the norm with the Tour season ending three weeks earlier – would be helpful, but Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts had a slightly different take in response to Estes’ tweet. “I’m afraid a different schedule wasn’t gonna make the fairways wider. On that particular course with how we played, [the United States] had absolutely no chance. Hasn’t more than half the euros played playoffs too?” Colsaerts tweeted.

It’s never too early to get a jump on the 2020 trash talking.

Missed Cut

By the book. The USGA and R&A’s most recent rulemaking hill involved the use of green-reading materials. On Monday the game’s rule-makers unveiled new interpretations on what will be allowed starting next year.

Out will be the legal-sized reams of information that had become ubiquitous on Tour, replaced by pocket-sized books that will include a limited scale (3/8 inch to 5 yards).

While the majority of those involved were in favor of a scaled-back approach to what to many seemed like information overload, it did seem like a curious line to draw.

Both sides of the distance debate continue to await which way the rule-makers will go on this front and, at least in the United States, participation continues to be a challenge.

Banning the oversized green-reading books may have been a positive step, but it was a micro issue that impacted a wildly small portion of the golf public. Maybe it’s time for the rule-makers to start looking at more macro issues.