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Nicklaus: Faldo's Spieth comments were a joke

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Editor's note: Story updated at 3:38 p.m. ET

Jack Nicklaus, who shared the stage with Nick Faldo during Wednesday’s luncheon at Ohio State, said that the CBS Sports analyst was joking when he told the assembled crowd that he had rooted against Jordan Spieth at the Masters.

In a statement Thursday, Nicklaus said that Faldo was “obviously making a joke with his comments about Jordan yesterday, and everyone at the function, including me, took it that way.”

OK, so maybe not everyone.

A reporter with the Columbus Dispatch who attended the luncheon praised Faldo for his “candid” commentary and then detailed the conversation on stage when the topic turned to whether Faldo and Nicklaus had ever rooted against another player.

Nicklaus said that he neither roots for nor against a player to break his records.

Faldo chimed in, apparently with tongue firmly planted in cheek: “Oh, I do.”

And then, talking about Spieth at this year’s Masters, Faldo told the crowd, “I was sitting up there dodging bullets from this young man. Day 1, he’s in the middle of the 15th fairway at 8 under par, and my fellow announcers were all, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if he shoots a 62?’ And I’m thinking, Jack (Nicklaus) and I are both in the 63 club; that’s the best round in any major. 

“So I’m sitting in my (tower) at 18, saying, ‘No, it wouldn’t be nice.’ He takes that 4-wood out, and I know it’s the wrong club and I’m going, ‘Hit it! Hit it! Hit it!’ And he did, and he hits it over the green and three-putts (for bogey), so that was that.”

Faldo added that he blurted out, “Yes!” when Spieth missed a 6-foot putt on the 18th hole Friday that would have given the 21-year-old the lowest 36-hole score (129) in major history. Spieth now shares the mark with three players, including Faldo.

The Dispatch noted that Nicklaus initially smiled after hearing Faldo’s comments, and then replied, “That wouldn’t be my attitude, but that’s OK.” 

In his statement Thursday, Nicklaus said that “we were entertaining an audience at a fundraiser, and Nick’s comment was said purely in jest. Nick made it clear he has a tremendous amount of respect for Jordan as a person and a champion.”

Faldo may have made it clear to most of those in attendance, but apparently not all.