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."

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own