Jack Plays Final Round at Augusta

By Mercer BaggsApril 10, 2005, 4:00 pm
There should have been more. There should have been more cheers. There should have been more tears. There should have been more to-do about Jack Nicklaus final* competitive round at Augusta National.
But Jack didnt want it that way. He didnt want to take one final ceremonial tour of the grounds that he has dominated like no other and be bothered with applause at every turn, on every swing.
Sure he was going to receive as much any how, but it would have been more personal had everyone else known what he knew. He didnt want it to be that way. He wanted to keep some distance between himself and his emotions as he made that final walk ' even if those emotions caught up with him at the finish line.
And maybe he didnt fully know himself. Maybe had he made a few more putts or hit a couple of shorter irons into the greens, then maybe he would have sung a different tune after finishing his record 163rd round in the Masters.
Or maybe this time it wasnt about Jack Nicklaus the player. Maybe it wasnt about the man who won six Masters Tournaments taking a final bow and bathing in the appreciation of others.
Maybe this trip was about some personal therapy. And perhaps that was achieved. And if it was, then maybe, just maybe he thought: Well, Ive done enough here.
He says thats it. There most likely will not be another. And there will certainly never be another Nicklaus. Tiger Woods may eventually win more green jackets than Jack, but he will never be Jack. In the same way that Jack was never Arnold Palmer.
Truth is: Jack doesnt feel for the fans the way that Arnold does ' not that anyone does. It doesnt mean as much to him that the fans adore him ' never has. If it did, he would have worked so hard early in his career to try and win them over that he never would have become the player that he did.
It doesnt make him cold or callused. He still loves his audience, but loves more to give them a good performance. That's always been the most important thing, the performance.
He had to be a little more detached. Thats what helped make him the greatest of all time. Nobody has ever played golf better, at least not when it mattered most.
We want definition. We want a definitive start and a definitive end. We want to properly celebrate our heroes when that end arrives. We want to give them the adulation we feel they deserve ' and let them know they played a positive part in our lives. It makes us feel good, too.
But Nicklaus has gotten that throughout the better part of his life. Hes had enough. He doesn't need it anymore. At least thats what he said.
But put an asterisk by Jacks admission that this is it. Hes said this before.
Remember, just a month ago there was between slim and none that Jack would make the 69th Masters his 45th.
That, however, was a statement born of emotion, said in the aftermath of the death of his 17-month-old grandson. He likes to speak in definitive terms when he gets emotional.
Just like he did this Saturday.
'You know,' he said in what may well have been his final post-round press conference at Augusta National, 'this is not a celebrity walk-around. This is a golf tournament. It's a major golf championship, and if you're going to play in this championship, you should be competitive and you should be able to be able to compete with who is out there.'
Hes long said that he will stop playing when he is no longer competitive. And he hasnt been competitive in this event since 2000. Hes said time and time again that hes played plenty and now its time to devote the majority of his time to wife Barbara and his family.
And yet Golf, that siren, keeps calling him back.
And he listens. He cant help but listen. He and Golf have this relationship. They have so much respect and love for one another. Theyre both who they are in large part because of one another.
Jackie thinks there might be more. His oldest son, the one who carried his bag in the improbable 1986 victory and again in this 77-76 missed cut, says that come next spring his dads desire will blossom with the azaleas.
So maybe there is still more to come.
If not, then it will have ended Saturday, on the ninth green, unannounced, with a missed 4-foot birdie putt.
It just seems like there should have been more. He deserves so much more.
Fortunately, this is the Masters, where champions can always compete, if not contend. And there will always be more waiting for him if he ever decides he wants more of it.
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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

    Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

    Getty Images

    McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

    McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

    But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

    Said Harmon:

    “Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

    “This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

    McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

    “Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

    McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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    How The Open cut line is determined

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

    Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

    The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    • After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

    • There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

    • There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

    The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

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    How to watch The Open on TV and online

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

    You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

    Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

    In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.  

    Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

    (All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

    Monday, July 16

    GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

    GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Tuesday, July 17

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Wednesday, July 18

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Thursday, July 19

    GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

    GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Friday, July 20

    GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Saturday, July 21

    GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Sunday, July 22

    GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)