June 01, 2005

Hit the Road Jack?: Jack Nicklaus shows his softer side. Is now the right time to bow out? Or should he play on? Champions Tour anyone?

posted by mayerkyl to golf at 10:01 AM - 6 comments

He has always been such a great champion, I really do hate to see him bow out. They don't make them like him anymore.

posted by volfire at 12:53 PM on June 01, 2005

Jack has earned the right to bow out whenever he wants. Last I checked he does have 18 majors.

posted by grohleder66 at 01:49 PM on June 01, 2005

Jack is the best. Not only a great player but a gentleman as well. I have a picture of him at Pebble Beach sitting on the railing on the 18th tee. Everyone who is a golf fan of Jack should have one. I don't think you'll see him on the Champions Tour. He's already been there. I see him doing some Skin's Games on tv. One of the few chances to see him again. May the Golden Bear live forever.

posted by dbt302 at 01:53 PM on June 01, 2005

Jack Nichlaus stepped on my foot with his golf cleats! I was 10 or 11 years old, and my dad took me to the Canadian Open (pro-am portion). I joined in the big crowd that followed Jack from green-to-tee at one hole, running backwards in front of him, hoping to get an autograph. He signed my program, and when I tried to step out of his way, I bumped into someone. He stepped on my foot and kept going. It stung for a second, but I didn't care. I got his autograph! Which I then lost less than a year later when I was cleaning my desk. That's my brush with golf greatness. Side note: Some young hockey player named Wayne Gretzky was there, and I got his autograph as well. It was the same pro-am where he drove off one tee and clobbered some poor kid in the noggin, 50 yards down the course. He apologized profusely, signed some stuff for him, gave him the ball and bought him a coke.

posted by grum@work at 03:59 PM on June 01, 2005

I played at Muirfield (in Scotland, not Ohio) last week for the first time. It was stunning. I'm rubbish now, my game has gone to hell, I probably couldn't have broken eighty if my life had depended on it, but I still hit a few world-class shots - not many, but a few. I think Nicklaus has probably reached the point where he is saying that he hasn't got a game in him, but he doesn't believe it. He knows that although he hasn't broken 70 in competition for an age, he's only ever as far away from doing it again as he is from stringing together some of those world-class shots that he can still produce the odd time. The thing that made him great in the first place wasn't that he hit shots other people couldn't hit, it was that he could hit really good shots more often than everyone else. In his own words "I could keep playing my own game in the back nine on a Sunday long after everyone else had stopped playing theirs." Palmer was brilliant because of what he could do physically. He bossed the ball around the course and swaggered after it. It must have been easier for him to accept his decline as he felt his body lose its power. It's harder for Nicklaus because he always relied on his mind more than his body, and if anything his mind is sharper now than it was in his prime. It must be incredibly frustrating. The bottom line though is that Jack Nicklaus is the only person who gets to say when Jack Nicklaus should stop playing. As far as I'm concerned, he's more than earned the right to do whatever the hell he likes.

posted by JJ at 07:20 AM on June 02, 2005

I applaud Nicklaus for choosing to hang it up competitively. He doesn't owe anyone anything, so as far as teeing it up on the Champions Tour, hopefully he thinks better of it. If the Champions Tour is just so many other generations of fans can say they saw him play, that shouldn't be Jack's concern. I think most people think it's enough for Nicklaus to just walk out to Champions Tour events and just tee it up and he'll look good, compete, and probably win. But he knows he'd have to continue devoting himself to keeping in shape, working long hours on his game, etc., and at this point in his life he's earned the right to focus time on other things without having his current game scrutinized. Let him go out and enjoy golf like most people do, playing rounds when he wants with the people he wants to play with and without the cameras watching and people hounding him.

posted by dyams at 09:11 AM on June 02, 2005

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