Monday, April 23, 2018
Sports

Nicklaus retains winning feeling

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Now 72, Jack Nicklaus jokes that he can't remember what happened yesterday.

Yet he never has forgotten what it was like to hit the most famous shots of his illustrious career.

"I can still feel it, it feels the same," he said Monday at a charity luncheon affiliated with the Memorial Tournament, which he founded and hosts. "You can still feel the shot, the way it came off your hands, 30 or 40 years later. I still have that same feeling. I haven't matched it lately. I do know that feeling, though. And it's kind of fun to know what it feels like in golf."

The years have not dimmed the sweet spot he hit on the 1 iron that he drilled through the wind and off the pin at 17 to take the 1972 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, or the 5 iron with a slight draw at 16 that helped him win the 1986 Masters at age 46.

Nicklaus, who helped raise $275,000 at the luncheon for Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, appeared with defending Memorial winner Steve Stricker and two-time U.S. Open champion and golf analyst, Andy North.

For his charitable works and golf feats, the House voted to bestow the Congressional Gold Medal on Nicklaus. The honor is awarded to prominent military leaders, public servants, athletes and artists. The legislation now goes to the Senate for a vote.

Though he no longer plays much — he said his five kids and 22 grandchildren all lead busy lives and don't usually have time — Nicklaus said he hasn't forgotten his signature shots.

Funny, he said, how many of them were 1 irons — a club rarely used anymore. There was the shot at Pebble Beach that helped him hold off Bruce Crampton. There was another 1 iron at Augusta National, with Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller chasing, that led to his Masters victory in 1975.

Stricker remains impressed by the 5 iron that Nicklaus carved into the back-left pin placement on Sunday at the '86 Masters.

"I still can't get over that shot," Stricker said. "… One little flick over there and you're in the water."

With some embarrassment, Nicklaus said that shot was memorable because of his reaction to it.

"On that particular shot, I made probably the cockiest remark I've ever made in my life on a golf course," he said. "It was 175 yards and a 5 iron that I had to take a little off of, but I hit it exactly the way I wanted to hit it. I hit it just to the right of the flag, with a slight draw. I hit the shot and I knew where it was. I reached down to pick up my tee and (son) Jackie, who was caddying for me, said, 'Be right!' I said, 'It is.' "

To loud laughter, he added, "That remark can get you in a lot of trouble when the ball's still in the air."

North said all of those shots are memorable but it was much shorter ones that made them so.

"When I think of Jack Nicklaus, I think of (those), and 100,000 8-footers he made when he needed to make them," he said.

Bubba Watson's hooked wedge shot from the trees right of the 10th fairway in a playoff at this year's Masters ranks with the greatest shots of all time, Nicklaus said. Watson's dramatic shot landed on the green and spun within range of an easy two-putt par that gave him his first major championship, defeating Louis Oosthuizen.

Nicklaus said it was hard to even imagine the difficulty of the wedge shot.

"I'd never been where he was," he cracked.

Comments
The key to the Lightning’s success

The key to the Lightning’s success

This is quite the run the Lightning is on over the past five years.A playoff appearance in 2014. A trip to the Stanley Cup final in 2015. A return to the Eastern Conference final in 2016. A near-miss of the postseason last season. And now back in the...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Brooke Blankenship and Luca Tresh

HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Brooke Blankenship and Luca Tresh

Brooke Blankenship, Academy at the LakesAcademy at the Lakes knew it would be difficult to manufacture runs during last week's anticipated matchup with Land O'Lakes and Gators ace Callie Turner.So the Wildcats decided to steal a run.This wasn't any h...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

ST. PETERSBURG — Absolutely, Alex Cobb was saying over the phone, it's going to be weird pitching Tuesday against the Rays.The organization that he owes so much for rearing him since high school, standing by him through assorted injuries, enabl...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Shaquem Griffin on TODAY show: ‘I’m not limited to nothing’

Shaquem Griffin on TODAY show: ‘I’m not limited to nothing’

Shaquem Griffin's ability to play football without a left hand has made him the talk of the NFL draft. But the former Lakewood High and UCF star is determined to silence such talk with his play."It gets tiring," Griffin said today...
Updated: 4 hours ago
HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay

HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. Sunlake (22-1)Up next: Wednesday vs. Clearwater-Northeast winner (7A-10 semifinals)The buzz: The Seahawks beat Anclote, Gulf and Zephyrhills last week to extend their win streak to 16, currently the longest in the area. Sunlake has been dominant, ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Late-round NFL draft picks are often made on a wing and a prayer.The Bucs' fourth-round pick Saturday will be no different. The team announced Monday that as part of the NFL draft TV broadcast, the team's fourth-round pick will be delivered to an ann...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Projecting where USF’s prospects will get drafted

Projecting where USF’s prospects will get drafted

For all the analyses and hypotheses, all the Mels and McShays, all the pro days and private workouts, the NFL draft remains a crap shoot at its core.But just for kicks, we're rolling the dice anyway.As a prelude to what could — could — be...
Updated: 7 hours ago
USF baseball cracks top 25

USF baseball cracks top 25

For the first time this season, USF's baseball team has cracked the national rankings.The Bulls (26-14, 9-6), coming off series wins against UCF and No. 7 East Carolina, are No. 20 in the latest Baseball America weekly poll. USF, winner of five of it...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Swimmer Michael Phelps to headline Crystal Lagoon grand opening Saturday

Swimmer Michael Phelps to headline Crystal Lagoon grand opening Saturday

WESLEY CHAPEL — Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps will splash down Saturday at the Crystal Lagoon in Wesley Chapel’s Epperson development.Phelps, a global ambassador for Crystal Lagoons, will appear at the grand opening of the first Crystal Lagoon...
Updated: 7 hours ago
How Deon Cain went from lifelong quarterback to NFL-bound receiver

How Deon Cain went from lifelong quarterback to NFL-bound receiver

TAMPA — Ricky Sailor thought his colleague had lost his mind.Sailor's Unsigned Preps 7-on-7 team had one of the area's most promising young quarterbacks, Deon Cain. So why would one of his coaches, Carlos Blake, want to risk injury and burn bri...
Updated: 8 hours ago