Ohio's Golf Magazine July 2009 : Page 7

OH O’s GOLF excitement as the tournament itself. The event was a rare opportunity for the public to see Jack Nicklaus back on the course, and it was the first time Nicklaus and Woods have played together since their pairing at the 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla. Woods captured the most skins (six) in the two four- somes, and Nicklaus pocketed $8,000 and two skins with a birdie on the par-5 11th hole. Even though Nicklaus doesn’t play much golf these days, Woods said he is still as competitive as ever. “He’s a competitor,” Woods said. “Anyone who has ever played the game at the highest level wants to come out and give it their best. You could see it on certain holes, certain shots, him kind of revert back to the old Jack. It was neat to see. I hadn’t seen it since 2000.” Nicklaus concurred with Woods’ assessment. “I don’t care if I’m playing with my wife, my competitive juices flow,” he said. “That’s just me.” The event was a nine-hole format that started on No. 10, with two foursomes each battling for $50,000 in skins to benefit charity. The players each wore wire- less microphones so the crowd and the viewers on Golf Channel could hear their banter. A large crowd followed the players despite a brisk wind and driving rain that arrived at the beginning of the event and left many of the fans, especially those in shorts, shiver- ing. The foul weather didn’t help the tournament founder, who struggled to match the distance of the three tour- ing pros in his group. “I had three par 4s that I couldn’t reach today,” Nick- laus said. “But that’s okay. I know what I am now. That’s why I don’t play golf anymore. But I really had a blast today.” The two legends played in the second group with Stewart Cink (one skin for $5000) and Kenny Perry (no skins). Their opening act included Padraig Har- rington, who won three skins for $23,000, Camilo Vil- legas (four skins for $17,000), Vijay Singh (two skins and $10,000) and Jim Furyk, who was shut out. Woods said it was a treat to play competitively with Nicklaus, something that is unique to golf. “Our sport is different in that way,” Woods said. “The guys from past generations, not just one generation removed, but a few, can still compete, can still play out here. Not at the highest levels, but for nine holes, a few holes, they can certainly play with us, and even beat us. That is one of the neat things about the game of golf. It’s the only sport that I know of where people can do that.” Honorees One of the special touches that makes the Memorial unique is the pre-tournament ceremony that recog- nizes individuals, living and dead, who have contrib- uted to the game of golf. The 52 honorees are me- morialized with a plaque in Memorial Park next to the first hole. This year’s honorees were JoAnne Carner and Jack Burke, Jr. Carner had a storied amateur career before turning professional at age 30. In her hall-of-fame profes- sional career she won 43 LPGA Tour titles, eighth- most in history, and averaged more than 10 events a season into her 60s. At the 2004 Kraft Nabisco, she became the oldest player at age 64 to make a cut in a major. Now 70, Carner continues to compete in sev- eral of the women’s senior events held throughout the country each year. Jackie Burke, Jr. won 17 times in his career, includ- ing the Masters and PGA Championship in 1956. In 1952, he won four tournaments in a row, and he played on five Ryder Cup teams, captained twice and hosted one at his own course, the Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas. But the 86-year-old Burke is probably known as much for being a teacher and philosopher on golf who has touched many amateurs and professionals through the years. His pupils, in- cluding Hal Sutton, have referred to him as a gruff uncle with a heart of golf who teaches through experi- ence and stories. At the end of the tournament, Nicklaus announced that the 2010 honoree will be Seve Ballesteros. Ball- esteros, who won a record 50 times on the European tour, captured the British Open three times and the Masters twice. He was the youngest winner at Au- gusta until Woods captured the green jacket in 1997. Ballesteros has been battling cancer, but pledged to receive the award in person. If he does, it will be his first trip back to Muirfield Village since he won four points for the winning European side in the 1987 Ry- der Cup. Nicklaus weighs in on Ohio State coach search It looks like Jack Nicklaus doesn’t always get his way when it comes to the Ohio State golf program. Nicklaus told Ohio’s Golf before the tournament that WWW.OHIOSGOLF.COM • JULY 2009 2 7

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