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Jack Nicklaus
"The chances are slim that I'll play again"
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Saturday, 17 June, 2000, 02:15 GMT 03:15 UK
Golden Bear's emotional farewell
Jack Nicklaus receives a standing ovation at the 18th
Jack Nicklaus receives a standing ovation at the 18th
American golf legend Jack Nicklaus said a premature farewell to the US Open as he failed to make the half-way cut at Pebble Beach.

The 60-year-old four-time winner of the event desperately wanted to secure an emotional final day exit.

But his dreams were shattered by a two-round total of 155, leaving him 13 over par.

Nicklaus did go out on a high though, smashing a three wood 238 yards to reach the par five 18th in two and ensure a standing ovation from the massed galleries around the final green.

Nicklaus acknowledges the crowds at 14
Nicklaus acknowledges the crowds at 14

The emotion may have affected his putting, as Nicklaus left his eagle attempt six feet short and then missed for birdie.

"The first putt I topped. I had tears in my eyes and could not see the ball," he admitted.

Nicklaus added: "It is very difficult coming up the last fairway knowing it is your last US Open.

"But I enjoyed the last few holes - despite what I was shooting."

For Nicklaus, Pebble Beach was a fitting stage on which to end his career.
Golden Bear's US Open records
Four US Open titles
Four times runner-up
Eleven top five finishes
Eighteen top 10 finishes

He won the 1961 US Amateur event before claiming victory in the first US Open to be staged at the course in 1972.

That was sandwiched between wins in the Bing Crosby National Pro Am in 1972 and 1973, giving him three Pebble Beach wins in a 53-week span.

"This is the place I sort of started at nearly 40 years ago, so it is a fitting place to stop," he said.

Jack Nicklaus at Pebble Beach
Jack Nicklaus has a golden history at Pebble Beach

"I just would have loved to play a little better."

It was ironic that Nicklaus' departure was hastened by a double-bogey at the par-three fifth, a hole redesigned by the Golden Bear himself.

"It's a really nice golf hole and I think it sets up very nicely," he said, admitting the irony of his double bogey had not been lost on him.

"After that, I thought about not making the cut. After the double bogey I thought 'I had better enjoy the last nine as I won't be here tomorrow'," Nicklaus said.

As well as his four US Open wins, Nicklaus boasts a clutch of records at the event.

He is one of four golfers to finish runner-up on four occasions and he shares the record of 11 top-five finishes with Willie Anderson.

He has enjoyed 18 top-10 finishes and a 12-year span from 1971 to 1982 saw Nicklaus finish no worse than 11th, with two wins and five top-five finishes.

"I have played my game and I have made my contribution," he said modestly, before leaving a US Open for the final time.

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15 Jun 00 | Golf
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