Jacks Back at the Blue Monster
Thats right: the 63-year-old Golden Bear is playing in a regular PGA Tour event. Jack is here and playing because hes healthy. Playing golf is fun again. Hes virtually pain free. Well, Id say Im about 60 percent, which is about as good as Im going to feel at my age, explained Nicklaus, but no ones ever 100 percent; and last year I was about ten percent.
The greatest player in the history of the game has lost about 25 pounds and the nagging pain in his joints that paralyzed his swing. He gives all the credit to his nutritionist and the diet that has his body functioning wonderfully: Its my own natural anti-inflammatories that are working. Im not by any means out of hurting, but Im not hurting very much I feel good and I feel like its time to play a little bit of golf.
Nicklaus doesnt expect as much of himself as do many of his fans. I dont ever expect to beat the world at 63, but Im having fun.
Of course, many of his fans hope this appearance at Doral means Jack is readying himself for the Masters in April. But the six-time Masters champion says the Ford Championship this week is no rehearsal for Augusta National. I decided to play here because I felt like my body last year was so bad that I couldnt play anything. I started playing a little bit his year and I said if Im thinking about playing Augusta why wait to see if I can play golf again. So I decided to play here on a course I like close to home.
Even though he looks ' and feels ' good, Nicklaus says his game if far from world-class. I dont know if I will shoot a pair of 80s or a pair of 65s. The latter is not too likely. I just wanted to go play.
Jack says he wont decide if hell compete at the Masters until right before the championship. He says its no big deal. Oh, his fans would disagree so vehemently. I dont know when Im going to decide whether I will play, said Nicklaus. What difference does it make? Im not going to compete anyway.
Jack has developed a wonderful self-deprecating sense of humor over the years. Without the potential of winning at Augusta National, Jack asked who cares if he shows up just to wave at people as he runs by.
Well, Jack, millions of sports fans care. He is a man for whom legions feel compelled to root and cheer. And for those who may be more optimistic than the man himself, it is still possible to dream about Nicklaus and another Green Jacket. He provided the hope, himself. I think I can shoot some good rounds. I finished 6th on one leg in 58 ' I mean at 58 in 98. Ive got two legs now, so hopefully I should be able to finish at least that good or better.
At least 6th or better at the Masters? My God, with Jack in contention over the weekend, the roars around Amen Corner could even drown out the hubbub outside the gates this year at Augusta National.
For now, at least, Jack is Back.
Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.
Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.
The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.
Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.
The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.
Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him
It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.
Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.
The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:
The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.
For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.
Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter
After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.
But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.
Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":
Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.
Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.
Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.
The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.
“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.
In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.
“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”
Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.
“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.