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Category: Tiger Woods
Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods (born December 30, 1975) is an American professional golfer who is among the most successful golfers of all time. He has been one of the highest-paid athletes in the world for several years.
Following an outstanding amateur and two-year college golf career, Woods turned professional at age 20 in late summer 1996. By April 1997 he had already won his first major, the 1997 Masters, in a record-breaking performance, winning the tournament by 12 strokes and pocketing $486,000. He first reached the number one position in the world rankings in June 1997. Through the 2000s, Woods was the dominant force in golf, spending 264 weeks from August 1999 to September 2004 and 281 weeks from June 2005 to October 2010 as World Number One.
ORLANDO, Fla. – Plenty of golfers have expressed excitement at viewing a 41-year-old Tiger Woods try to make his comeback (which began a couple of weeks ago at the Hero World Challenge).
But not all. One golfing great who says he won’t have his eyes glued to the TV as the 14-time major champion makes his latest return? Jack Nicklaus.
The Golden Bear, in Orlando competing with grandson Gary Nicklaus Jr. at the PNC Father/Son Challenge, was quite clear Friday when asked if he was interested in watching Woods’ attempt to reclaim his stake in the game.
“I’m not interested at all,” Nicklaus said.
Tell us how you really feel, Jack.
OK, but don’t take that to mean the Golden Bear has suddenly grown callous here. Nicklaus is not indifferent to the success of Woods, who is still chasing the Golden Bear’s record of 18 majors. The 77-year-old clarified that he does hope the best for Woods: just don’t expect him to be a TV viewer … for any golf for that matter.
“Do I wish (Tiger) well? Yeah, but I’m not interested in watching him,” Nicklaus said. “I’ve watched him play golf for 20-something years, why would I want to go watch more? I don’t watch anybody play golf.”
When you’ve won 18 majors and 73 PGA Tour titles, there’s really not a whole lot of reason to watch others play the game.
But Nicklaus did iterate that the television set is always on where he is, which means he does occasionally see a golf shot on the tube. He got a glimpse at a couple of Woods’ swings as he walked by the TV during the Hero World Challenge.
His takeaway? Maybe he doesn’t care to watch much, but Nicklaus echoed the optimistic sentiment of most observers.
“Tiger seemed to hit the ball pretty well over there and seemed to enjoy it and be pain-free and I wish him well,” Nicklaus said. “The swing as I saw, looked good. It looked like a swing of somebody who didn’t want to hurt his back.”
Could Nicklaus change his mind on tuning in if Woods’ comeback progresses to the tune of more PGA Tour wins and major titles?
We won’t know until (or if) that happens. For now, the Golden Bear appears fine to let Tiger Talk go on without him.
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ORLANDO, Fla. – Jack Nicklaus is not pretending that everything is humming on all cylinders heading into the PNC Father/Son Challenge.
He has right shoulder issues that have prevented him from playing much tennis for several months. He plays golf only occasionally, roughly a dozen times a year or perhaps a little more.
Nicklaus claims a practice session on Wednesday was the first one he’d had on a practice tee since 2005.
But when grandson Gary “G.T.” Nicklaus Jr., his teammate this week, iterated Friday that “if we play well, we play well” when the competition starts Saturday, the Golden Bear playfully interjected.
“No, it’s not if we play well,” Jack said.
Grandson got the memo.
“We’re going to play well,” Gary Jr. retorted.
The pair make up one of 20 teams competing in the two-day event at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, Grande Lakes. For the first time at this tournament, the 15-year-old grandson will accompany his 77-year-old grandfather.
And they should make for an interesting team.
Jack Nicklaus’ credentials are known: the 18 major titles, 73 PGA Tour wins and stake as arguably the greatest golfer in the history of the game.
His partner boasts plenty of his own chops, though.
Among Nicklaus’ 22 grandchildren, Gary Jr. is considered the only one “that plays golf properly.” The teenager also possesses a combination of strength and finesse that might remind one of his grandfather.
“He’s got really strong legs, he’s a strong kid,” Jack said. “(He) hits it a long way (and) he’s got pretty good touch.”
But while the Father/Son doesn’t exactly entail U.S. Open pressure, this is golf with big names in front of crowds on TV.
It’d be understandable if Gary Jr. struggled in his first appearance under that extra attention. He feels the exact opposite.
“It’s a new experience for me. I like it, it’s fun,” Gary Jr. said. “I like the pressure when you’re hitting a putt, and you have people watching. … It helps me.”
That sentiment may arise from the fact that the teenager already finds comfort in performing in front of people.
Gary Jr. performs in a rock band at school and knows how to play the guitar and the piano. He also sings and has started writing his own songs in the last year or so. This artistic side has allowed Gary Jr. to become acquainted with attention, something with which his grandfather can relate.
“He likes being in front of people,” Jack said. “I always looked at playing golf to be out in front of people was fun. And I think he has pretty much the same attitude.”
The 15-year-old does harbor pro golf dreams – he recently shot 82 from tournament tees in a trip to Augusta National with his grandfather – but he has mixed the sport at least a little into his music.
While Gary Jr. quipped that the songs he writes are mainly about “girls,” he has added a golf tune to the arsenal.
That would be “Drive For Show, Putt For Dough,” a song he entitled after hearing his grandmother Barbara (Jack’s wife) say that phrase often.
Gary Jr. said he wrote it when he was bored one day. He offered one of the song’s lines, which goes: You can hit it far, you can hit it straight, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t make the putts.
Can the duo produce a winning tune on the golf course this weekend in Orlando?
It’ll be a tall task, especially with one rookie in tow. But after his grandson adjusted his stance on how they would perform, the Golden Bear couldn’t help admire that they’re on the same page.
“We’re going to play well, that’s a good attitude,” Jack said with a laugh.
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Tiger Woods with Jack Nicklaus following the Memorial Tournament in 2012. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, Fla. – There has been plenty of buzz about Tiger Woods since he made his comeback at the Hero World Challenge in early December, and many of the players at the PNC Father-Son Challenge took notice.
One notable exception was Jack Nicklaus.
Nicklaus was in the midst of hosting a charity function that weekend and didn’t see much of Woods’ performance. Asked if he had an interest in watching Woods on the comeback trail, the Golden Bear replied succinctly, “I’m not interested at all.”
That’s not to say that Woods is a special case. Between his business and his growing commitment to charity and his large family, golf isn’t the priority it once was for the 18-time major winner. He does keep in touch with the game, and he enjoys being around players at his annual Memorial Tournament or at his Bears Club in Jupiter, Fla.
“Do I wish him well? Yeah, but I’m not interested in watching him,” Nicklaus said Friday afternoon at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, where he will compete this weekend with his 15-year-old grandson, Gary Nicklaus Jr., who goes by G.T. “I don’t watch golf much. The television set is always on, but I don’t really watch it.”
Later the Golden Bear conceded that of course he has an interest in how Woods play, “because Tiger is good for the game and has been for a long time.”
The little Nicklaus did see of Woods was encouraging, he said.
“Tiger seemed to hit the ball pretty well over there and seemed to enjoy it, seemed to be pain-free,” said the Bear, who turns 78 in January. “I didn’t see enough of his swing. I saw him [as I was] walking by the television set and saw him hit a shot or two. The swing as I saw, looked good. It looked like a swing of somebody who did not want to hurt his back.”
Other players admitted making a point to see what the 14-time major winner could do in his first competitive rounds in more than 300 days.
“I’ll tell you, he looked ready,” said Lee Trevino. “He looked good. He looked a little more like his old self.”
“Yeah, I was interested in watching him,” added Tom Lehman. “There’s a tremendous amount of upside for him at this stage of his career. I think there are a lot of possibilities for him going forward if he can stay healthy.”
Mark O’Meara, who has been closest to Woods since Woods turned pro in 1997, said he saw a difference in his friend.
“I think all of us know what he’s meant to the game and where he took this game over the last almost 20 years,” O’Meara said. “Over the last three, four years we’ve missed him. The ups and downs he’s had – and we’ve all had them in our lives – you know, that makes it difficult to compete at the highest level. I’m not around Tiger Woods like I used to be, but what I saw was really great, maybe above what I thought he could do. He looks happier and in a better place. And I’m happy for him that he is doing better.”
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
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Consider a Scottish caddie who went by the name Mad Mac. In the employ of Max Faulkner during the 1951 Open Championship at Royal Portrush, Mad Mac wore a long raincoat with no shirt. Fastened to a lanyard around his neck was a pair of binoculars, which had no lenses. He used them to study putting lines for Faulkner, and at a crucial juncture advised him: “The putt is slightly straight, sir.” Fortified by such advice, Faulkner won that Open.
What do we see in Mad Mac, who sadly did not squeeze onto our list of the 36 Greatest Caddies of All Time? Deficiencies to be sure, but also valuable qualities that range beyond merely strapping a bag to his shoulder. Mad Mac was a geographer, unintentional comedian, coach, pack mule and friend. And if his toolbox were a bit deeper and included traits we see in caddies who are on the list, you might find he also was a mathematician, sport psychologist, swing coach, butler, chauffeur and police officer. Caddies might not quite be at center stage in the hit play that is golf, but they do more than whisper lines from the wings. The major-championship and victory totals, longevity and range of players served attest to that.
Maybe the players say it better than we can. Tom Watson, with an assist from writer John Feinstein, set up a foundation in the wake of the passing from ALS of Bruce Edwards, Watson’s caddie and longtime friend. Lee Trevino cared financially for his caddie, Herman Mitchell, until his passing. Gary Player bought a house for caddie Eddie McCoy after Player’s 1978 Masters win, and Willie Peterson never had trouble soliciting help from Jack Nicklaus, for whom he caddied at the Masters for many years. Pulling clubs is one thing, but to pull such displays of loyalty from the greatest players of all time might be the ultimate measure of worth.
WILLIE (CEMETERY) POTEAT President Dwight Eisenhower’s caddie at Augusta National during his presidency and beyond. The story goes that Poteat was nicknamed Cemetery for surviving having his throat slashed by a jealous rival.
SKIP DANIELS After the aging caddie toted for Gene Sarazen in the 1932 Open Championship, the Squire wrote: “With Daniels in the Lion’s Den,” the most beautiful caddie tribute ever written.
WILLIE LEE (PAPPY) STOKES Steered four players to five Masters wins. Born in 1920 on the site of the future Augusta National, he helped clear trees to accommodate Alister MacKenzie’s brilliant design.
WILLIE PETERSON Was at Jack Nicklaus’ side for five of his six Masters victories. Peterson’s leap into the air when Nicklaus holed a 40-footer for birdie on the par-3 16th in 1975 is a Masters highlight staple.
HERMAN MITCHELL Lee Trevino’s rotund counterpart was with him for 19 years and all six of his majors. His deadpan demeanor made him the perfect foil to the animated Trevino.
DAVE MUSGROVE Highlights of the caddie’s 50-year run included Masters and Open Championship wins with Sandy Lyle, one U.S. Open with Lee Janzen and an Open Championship with Seve Ballesteros.
Photo by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images
Dave Musgrove guided three players to four major titles, including Seve Ballesteros in the 1979 open championship.
TONY NAVARRO A dozen years with Greg Norman, including the Shark’s 1993 Open Championship triumph. Others of note: Adam Scott, Ben Crenshaw and Jeff Sluman.
WILLIE MCRAE Began looping at Pinehurst on his 10th birthday in 1943. He retired after 74 years this past October, though he still takes special requests. Caddied for Bobby Jones, five U.S. presidents and worked the 1951 Ryder Cup.
JAMES (TIP) ANDERSON Was Arnold Palmer’s man at every Open Championship The King played. When Arnold skipped the 1964 Open, Tip picked up Tony Lema’s bag—and shepherded him to victory.
MIKE (FLUFF) COWAN The walrus-mustached, 40-year veteran’s first “name” bag was Peter Jacobsen, whom he served for 18 years. After working three years as Tiger Woods’ first regular PGA Tour caddie, Cowan moved to Jim Furyk’s bag in 1999 and has been there since.
ANDY MARTINEZ Martinez was at the side of Johnny Miller for 12 of Miller’s prime years and was with Tom Lehman for two full decades. All together, Martinez has caddied for eight PGA Tour winners. At 68, he’s still going strong.
BILLY FOSTER For starters, the seen-it-all bagman spent five years with Seve Ballesteros. Foster then added Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke and, briefly, Tiger Woods to his résumé. Has worked 13 Ryder Cups.
EDDIE LOWERY As a waifish 10-year-old, he caddied for Francis Ouimet during Ouimet’s titanic upset victory in the 1913 U.S. Open. Later as a wealthy car dealer, he was a benefactor to Ken Venturi, Tony Lema and Harvie Ward.
ERNEST (CREAMY) CAROLAN A tour caddie for nearly 50 years, he worked for Arnold Palmer during Arnold’s most productive years. Other employers included Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Raymond Floyd and Don January.
ANGELO ARGEA The concept of caddie-as-quasi-celebrity began with Angelo. His bushy, silver mane, gold neck chain and confident manner looked good alongside Jack Nicklaus.
STEVE WILLIAMS A no-nonsense caddie known for his expertise and ability to control galleries, he has had success with a succession of great players. His employers include Peter Thomson, Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd and, of course, Tiger Woods, his boss from 1999 to 2011. Several years with Adam Scott followed, an association that ended in 2017.
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BRUCE EDWARDS Edwards and Tom Watson were inseparable from 1973-’89. He caddied two years for Greg Norman, then rejoined Watson until passing away in 2004 from ALS. Edwards’ courage during his ordeal inspired a nation of golfers and sports fans.
ALFIE FYLES Was Tom Watson’s caddie for all five of Watson’s Open Championship triumphs. On the final hole at Turnberry in the famous Duel in the Sun, Watson wanted to hit a 6-iron to the green. Fyles coaxed him into a 7-iron, and Watson, trusting his mate, knifed it two feet from the hole.
FANNY SUNESSON The first great female caddie, she spurred Nick Faldo to four major championships. Smart and authoritative, she had short spells with Fred Funk and Sergio Garcia before concluding her career with Henrik Stenson.
ALFRED (RABBIT) DYER Dyer was Gary Player’s primary caddie for 18 years. But Dyer worked for a fleet of other top players, including Ben Hogan, Tony Lema, Dave Stockton and, occasionally, Arnold Palmer.
CARL JACKSON Ben Crenshaw’s caddie at the Masters from 1976 to 2014. He was sick and unable to caddie for Crenshaw’s final Masters in 2015, but he did show up at the conclusion, and the hug he gave Crenshaw made for one of golf’s most endearing moments.
Photo by Andrew Redington /Getty Images
AFFECTION: Carl Jackson was by Ben Crenshaw’s side for 38 of his 44 masters.
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JEFF (SQUEEKY) MEDLEN The caddie with the cartoon-character voice was with Nick Price for all three of his major titles. When Price couldn’t play in the 1991 PGA Championship at Crooked Stick, Medlen picked up alternate John Daly’s bag and promptly guided him to an improbable victory.
JIM (BONES) MACKAY His 25 years with Phil Mickelson made for the most famous player-caddie relationship of all time. Their verbal exchanges amplified to the public the finer points of the caddie’s contribution.
Photo by PGA Tour/PGA/Getty Images
DIRECTION: Jim (Bones) Mackay was on Phil Mickelson’s bag for 25 years.
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PETE BENDER Highlights of his 45 years on tour included the 1986 Open Championship with Greg Norman and 1991 Open with Ian Baker-Finch. Bender also worked for Raymond Floyd and Lanny Wadkins and in total won with eight players.
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STEVE HULKA Since 1972, Hulka has carried bags for more than 150 players. He’s still at it and has a side business of getting players’ equipment to the next tour stop.
SAM (KILLER) FOY Had 36 wins in 45 years with three players and was with Hale Irwin for his 1979 U.S. Open victory. Foy’s nickname derived from his earlier boxing career, in which he claimed to have knocked out Sugar Ray Robinson when a sparring session turned serious.
FREDDIE BENNETT Retired as caddiemaster at Augusta National in 2000 after more than 40 years on the job. No one knew the course better. Mentor to hundreds of caddies, his wisdom was saved for posterity in the memorable Freddie & Me book by Tripp Bowden.
PETER COLEMAN Had 59 victories with nine players, many during 22 years with Bernhard Langer. Coleman also hauled for Seve Ballesteros and, later, Lee Westwood.
TERRY MCNAMARA It helps to be an employee of Annika Sorenstam, one of the greatest players in LPGA history. But when a player wins 48 tournaments in a six-year stretch, as Sorenstam did from 2000-’05, it’s fair to say the caddie—in this case, McNamara—had something to do with it.
JOE LACAVA LaCava spent more than 20 years on Fred Couples’ bag, caddied briefly for Dustin Johnson, then in 2011 took up the most prized job of all: working for Tiger Woods. Not much has happened for LaCava lately, but his body of work earns him a plaque in the pantheon.
WILLIE AITCHISON He caddied Michael Bonallack to victory at the 1961 British Amateur. Aitchison later worked for Sam Snead, Gary Player, Tony Lema, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino and Roberto De Vicenzo. That’s some lineup. When De Vicenzo won the 1967 Open Championship, he had Aitchison in tow.
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PROTECTION: Willie Aitchison looped for several greats, including Lee Trevino.
RICCI ROBERTS An on-again, off-again 20-year relationship with Ernie Els might have been irregular, but Els brought Roberts back so many times, his value became indisputable. All four of the Big Easy’s majors came with Roberts pulling the clubs.
NATHANIEL (IRON MAN) AVERY Arnold Palmer’s regular caddie at the Masters from his first appearance in 1955 through each of his four victories. Endearing moment: Winnie Palmer once accidentally added a “0” to Iron Man’s payment check, making it $14,000 instead of $1,400. Avery complained when he had trouble cashing it.
LINN (THE GROWLER) STRICKLER His throaty, frank comebacks long a fixture on tour, the Vietnam vet carried for a number of top players, including Curtis Strange, Fred Couples, Craig Stadler, Payne Stewart, Nick Price and Greg Norman.
LEE (TWO SHOT) LYNCH The perpetually grumpy caddie acquired his nickname because, as Al Geiberger said, “Having him on your bag was like being penalized two shots.” In truth, he was coveted. Lynch toted for countless players, and, in 1977, he was on the bag for Geiberger’s famous round of 59.
DOLPHUS (GOLF BALL) HULL Raymond Floyd reportedly fired Hull six times, only to watch his wife, Maria Floyd, hire him back each time. Also worked for Jerry Pate, Lee Elder and Calvin Peete.
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