Nicklaus fails to get the right breaks

Jack Nicklaus watched in disbelief as his six-foot birdie putt headed straight for the hole, only to slide by on the edge and finish a foot past the cup. As the crowd groaned, Nicklaus' body sagged. Frustration was etched across his face.

Jack Nicklaus watched in disbelief as his six-foot birdie putt headed straight for the hole, only to slide by on the edge and finish a foot past the cup. As the crowd groaned, Nicklaus' body sagged. Frustration was etched across his face.

"I played very well, I just didn't get the ball in the hole," he said. "To be two over par at this point is a little disappointing."

Nicklaus has not been a serious contender here since 1998, when he finished sixth. At 64, the six-time champion hinted earlier in the week this might be his last visit as a competitor. What he did not want was some warm-and-fuzzy farewell tour. And if Nicklaus cannot leave as the winner, the least he wanted to do was give the younger guys a run. If he had made a few of those putts yesterday, he might have been in contention. Instead, Nicklaus found himself at two-over after 17 holes.

"I hit the ball very well, played well," he said after his round was halted by darkness. "But this is a golf course where you've got to make some putts, and I didn't make putts."

If the Golden Bear can find a way to do that, it could still be an interesting finish. Considering some of the power-hitters on tour now, his drives no longer draw raves. But what Nicklaus lacked in distance, he made up for in accuracy. At the par-four 14th, his drive went 310 yards before landing in the middle of the fairway. His second shot landed 30 feet to the right of the pin, and it looked as if he would read the tricky break perfectly as the ball rolled right at the cup. But it kept going - even as he yelled, "Break!"

When the ball finally stopped five feet past the hole, Nicklaus looked at the gallery and said, "That wasn't good, was it?" At least he tapped in for par, just as he did after missing birdie putts on the 13th, 14th and 16th holes.

Nicklaus was not as fortunate on 17, however. His drive hit a fir tree on the left side of the fairway and landed behind another, shorter tree. He skimmed the branches with a beautiful, low shot that climbed to the front edge of the green, about 35 feet from the pin.

The fans whooped and whistled, and Nicklaus rolled his first putt to within four feet of the cup. But instead of a par, his next putt hit the back edge of the cup and skipped about three feet away, forcing him to settle for bogey.

At 64, Nicklaus feels as if he is playing a totally different course than the one where he had so much success. "Hitting good shots and putting well has not changed," he said, "but the golf course now does not have room off the tee. You must drive the ball straight."

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
News
people
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
tv
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments