BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Sport: Golf
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
Nicklaus sets his heart on Sunday
Jack Nicklaus admits this will be his last at Pebble Beach
Jack Nicklaus admits this will be his last at Pebble Beach
The 100th US Open should provide the perfect swansong for the game's greatest player, Jack Nicklaus.

Jack Nicklaus makes his final farewell in the US Open this week amid controversy over the special exemption given to allow him to compete.

For the past six years the world's greatest golfer has been given an exemption by the United States Golf Association (USGA), but not everyone has approved of their generosity.

Former USGA executive director Frank Hannigan has accused the organisation of opting for "nostalgia, weepy sentimentality and cheap popularity over fairness."

Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Greg Norman and Curtis Strange have all been given free entries to the first US Open of the new millennium.


Nicklaus holds a record 18 Major titles
Nicklaus holds a record 18 Major titles

But in a scathing attack against the 60-year-old Nicklaus, Hannigan said the Golden Bear "has become what what he used to say he would never become - a ceremonial golfer. Nicklaus' last victory in real golf was the 1986 Masters."

By almost any standard, Nicklaus' record in the US Open is beyond approach.

He has played in more Opens than Tiger Woods, David Duval, Colin Montgomerie, Davis Love III and Phil Mickelson - the world's top five-ranked players - combined. And he has done so in consecutive years.



This year is a pretty good year for my swan song. If I can earn my way in again, fine, but I don't expect to be given another exemption

Jack Nicklaus
Nevertheless, Nicklaus admits the USGA have been more than generous with him.

"I think the USGA has been more than fair with me. They've been very kind in giving me exemptions beyond what should have been given to me," Nicklaus said.

"But this year is a pretty good year for my swan song. If I can earn my way in again, fine, but I don't expect to be given another exemption from the USGA, not that I'd turn it down."

World record

Nicklaus, who holds 18 Major titles (six Masters, five US PGAs, four US Opens and three Opens) has set himself the target of simply being there for Sunday's final round.

"If I'm walking up the 18th on Sunday that means I made the cut and played a pretty good tournament and I'll be absolutely delighted to have been able to play 72 holes at Pebble Beach.



I've loved Pebble Beach from the first time I saw it. It's possibly the best in the world

Jack Nicklaus
"But I'll also be sad as it will probably be my last Open," he said.

Nicklaus knows this is the perfect place to end his Open run. Pebble Beach is his favourite golf course, and not just because of the breathtaking scenery.

He won a US Amateur compeition at the course in 1961, a US Open 1972, three Crosbys (1967, 1972 and 1973) as well as two Shell matches.


nicklaus
Nicklaus hopes he can makes Sunday's cut
"I'm sure we've got better golf courses than Pebble Beach," he said.

"But because of where it sits and what it's been in my life, I really don't care whether they're better courses. I happen to like it."

Nicklaus, who first played the US Open in 1958, is realistic about his prospects, however.

"My driving is atrocious. It's the worst I've driven the ball," he said. "And my putting is mediocre."

"But, if I had only one more round to play I would choose to play it at Pebble Beach.

"I've loved this course from the first time I saw it. It's possibly the best in the world. It is one of the most gorgeous settings in the US and they put a golf course on it."

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

14 Jun 00 | Golf
US Open: Tee-off times
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites