Jack Nicklaus Isn't Swept Up In PGA Tour's Chase For 82 Push: "They Change Their Mind Ever Year"

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Don’t we love when Jack goes into full “get off my lawn” mode?

The Columbus Dispatch’s Joey Kaufman reports on Memorial Tournament host Jack Nicklaus, kicking off the week, getting asked about Tiger Woods sitting on the cusp of Sam Snead’s 82 PGA Tour wins.

If Nicklaus was dismissive about the possible feat, it mostly stemmed from how he felt the PGA Tour tallied its tournament wins. He professed to have little idea.

“I don’t know how you add up tournaments anymore,” Nicklaus said. “Every time I go to some place, winner of 113 tournaments, winner of 110 tournaments, I don’t know how many I won. It depends on how many the Tour is taking away or giving me.

“They change their mind every year about what they’re going to count. So I don’t know what’s what. No one in the world could know how many tournaments Sam Snead won.”

Actually, it isn’t quite that simple.

Check out Laury Livsey’s fascinating piece detailing the history of PGA Tour win counts and how the 82 number was settled on. This should give you an idea how much thought was put into the tally as it relates to Snead:

Yet even those additions cause heartburn for some today, with the 1937 tournament an 18-hole affair, the ’38 and ’41 tournaments 36-hole events and the 1950 “Crosby” a 54-hole tournament, declared a tie, with Snead, Jack Burke Jr., Smiley Quick and Dave Douglas. All earned official-victory designations because darkness set in on the final day without a winner emerging, and a next-day playoff was out of the question because of the players’ travel requirements.

In addition to the four “Crosby” wins, the committee also bestowed official wins on Snead for his 1952 and 1957 Palm Beach Round Robin titles, already crediting him with Round Robin victories in 1938, 1954 and 1955.

Because of the new standard defined by the panel, though, the committee elected to remove nine tournament titles from Snead’s official-win total, most notably his Greenbrier Invitational victories in 1952, 1953, 1958, 1959 and 1961, the latter two tournaments played at The Greenbrier but renamed the Sam Snead Festival. Also gone from his tally were the 1952 Julius Boros Open, the 1940 Ontario Open, the 1942 Cordoba Open and the 1953 Texas Open, which the record book credited Snead with winning, a tournament actually won by Tony Holguin. That Snead received credit for winning the San Antonio tournament meant the PGA of America and the PGA TOUR essentially perpetuated an error for many years.

"Trump's budget would steer $20M to Jack Nicklaus-backed hospital project"

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From Politico’s Dan Diamond, reporting for Politico on the White House-released 2020 budget steering $20 million to fund a mobile children's hospital project at Miami's Nicklaus Children's Hospital. Thanks to reader HR for sending this.

Nicklaus had lobbied Trump on the golf course in Florida, and he met with HHS Secretary Alex Azar and then-OMB Director Mick Mulvaney in Washington, D.C., to request funds, say two individuals with knowledge. Trump personally directed HHS to earmark the funds to help Nicklaus develop mobile children's hospitals, one individual said. 

Jack Nicklaus, lobbyist. That’s something I never thought I’d see.

But, as far as pork goes, hard to argue against something that helps pediatric care.

New Pod To Check Out: 1Up With Gary Williams And First Guest Jack Nicklaus

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Nice get and outstanding first effort from Gary Williams, hosting the “1 Up” podcast with Jack Nicklaus as his first guest.

Warning, golf ball talk early and oh how I love concern for the millennials entering the discussion. The Golden Bear knows how to pull at the golf executive heartstrings!

There is much more, of course, so subscribe away!


Jack Returns To A Pebble Beach As A U.S. Amateur Spectator

My account for Golfweek on Jack Nicklaus' return to the scene of a U.S. Amateur and a U.S. Open win to watch his 49-year-old son Gary play the 2018 U.S. Amateur.

While there are so many great stories at the U.S. Amateur, seeing the greatest ever walking 36 and treating the other competitors with his usual touch of class, added something special to this year's U.S. Amateur. 

A few of my shots of the Golden Bear out spectating where he won this championship 57 years ago:

Jack Loves The Memorial's New Schedule Spot, Not So Sure About A May PGA In Rochester

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Dave Shedloski reports for Golf World about Jack Nicklaus's pleasure at future Memorial's situated perfectly between the PGA Championship and U.S. Open. The Golden Bear also notes there will be less European competition in future years and is pleased that the Players and PGA Championship will present more interesting weather equations as part of the mix. 

Except in Rochester, 2023.

"I don't know," Nicklaus added, "what's going to happen in May in Oak Hill in Rochester, but I wish them well. I hope the weather is good. That's going to be a tough time."

Jack Nicklaus And Gary Player Discuss Plenty After Kicking Off The Masters

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We had nearly 90 minutes with the two legends following their honorary starter duties, and I wrapped up some of the more profound and entertaining remarks by Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.

This exchange was somewhat indicative of the banter at times. The topic is, of course, distance.

GARY PLAYER:  They are going to hit a wedge in time to come.  The whole TOUR will hit a wedge to the second hole here, the par 5.  They will hit a wedge to No. 13 and they will hit a wedge to No. 15. 

JACK NICKLAUS:  You've never done that? 

GARY PLAYER:  For my third.  (Laughter).

JACK NICKLAUS:  Oh, okay. 

GARY PLAYER:  I played with Trevor Immelman on Sunday, not anywhere near Dustin Johnson or Bubba Watson, and he hits a 7‑iron to No. 15.  He hits a 7‑iron to No. 13 and he hits a 7‑iron to No. 2. 

So if we don't stop ‑‑

JACK NICKLAUS:  Trevor? 

GARY PLAYER:  Yes.  He can play.  He can play.  He doesn't putt very well, but he can really play (laughter).

JACK NICKLAUS:  He putted well once. 

GARY PLAYER:  We're working on his putting.  But the thing is, if we don't do something ‑‑ we've never had a big man play golf here except George Bayer.  These guys in college are weight training and lifting weights and coming out and being very strong, and they are all going to be hitting the ball at least 400 yards.  You'll find guys that will almost drive the first green here at Augusta in 30 years' time. 

When I said this on British television 20 years ago, this particular guy, I said, "They will be hitting many drives at 400."  He scoffed at me.  Dustin Johnson hit a drive 489 yards ten days ago. 

JACK NICKLAUS:  He what? 

GARY PLAYER:  489 yards. 

JACK NICKLAUS:  Where? 

GARY PLAYER:  Austin. 

JACK NICKLAUS:  Did he really? 

GARY PLAYER:  We're seeing guys hitting 400 yards a lot.

JACK NICKLAUS:  Must have been downwind. 

GARY PLAYER:  With professional golf, we're going to have to, have to, cut the ball back 50 yards, at least. 

Will Jack's Concern About The Scale Of Golf Be Heard?

Lost in Jack Nicklaus highlighting the likelihood of pending USGA/R&A changes in their distance stance and his views on Titleist's chilling effect on discussion, were the Golden Bear's views on golf's scale.

We've heard many bring up sustainability, including Tiger Woods most recently. But based on the social media reaction I saw to Nicklaus' comments earlier this, week, it remains remarkable how many golfers do not believe that a 7,500 yard course takes longer to play than a 6,500 yard course. And there are golfers surprised to hear that the length of a round is a deterrent and that a reduced scale would be more attractive long term.

The transcript of his comments is worth reading if you're unclear on his stance, which is going beyond just where and how great players hit the ball. 

The game is a great game today the way it is. The game when I played was a great game. The game they played 20 years before me is a great game. However, as time changes, I think you need to change with the times. The times today, people don't have the time to spend playing five hours to play golf. They don't have -- a lot of people don't have the money to be able to do that, and they find the game very frustrating and very difficult.
So if the golf ball came back, it would solve I think a lot of those issues, and it would make -- it would -- I think we only have one golf course in this country, my opinion, that's not obsolete to the golf ball and that's Augusta National. They are the only people that have enough money that have been able to keep the golf course and do the things you had to. They are even buying up parts of country clubs and roads and everything else to get that done.
Not that other people couldn't do that, but it just unpractical. Why every time we have an event, do we have to keep buying more land and then making things longer? It just doesn't make any sense to me.

Jack Nicklaus Singles Out Titleist In Distance Debate

I was flipping through some books last night reading quotes about the distance debate and one in particular actually made me laugh at its ridiculousness. (More on that below).

Not coincidentally, the quote came from the subject of Jack Nicklaus' frustration.

From Randall Mell at GolfChannel.com, offering even more from Nicklaus's distance comments and suggestion of pending USGA/R&A action.

“Titleist controls the game,” Nicklaus said. “And I don't understand why Titleist would be against it. I know they are, but I don't understand why you would be against it. They make probably the best product. If they make the best product, whether it's 20 percent shorter ... What difference would it make? Their market share isn't going to change a bit. They are still going to dominate the game."

Titleist representatives could not be immediately reached by Golf Channel.

Huh, they're hovering around media center all the time even though they're not media and in general, despise the media!

“It's not about [Titleist]. It's about the people watching the game and the people that are paying the tab. The people paying the tab are the people that are buying that television time and buying all the things that happen out there. Those are the people that you've got to start to look out for.

“And the growth of the game of golf, it's not going to grow with the young kids. Young kids don't have five hours to play golf. Young kids want instant gratification.”

Forget the kids, the rest of us don't want five hours either!

As for the laughs, here was the quote mentioned above, reprinted in The Future of Golf, from now-retired Acushnet CEO Wally Uihlein in full conspiracy mode, way back in July 2003, Sports Illustrated:

"The print and electronic media have promoted a technophobic agenda since the start of the season, featuring such tabloid-ready headlines as 'The Weapons Race,' 'Ban this Ball or Els,' Going the Distance With Souped Up Golf Balls, and 'Cooling Hot Drivers.' The 24-hour Golf Channel contributes to the hysteria by allowing selected talent to spew one-sided antitechnology commentary and conduct 'leading the witness' interviews."

Here is the video from GolfChannel.com with Alex Miceli asking questions:

And Then Mike Davis Told Jack: "We're Going To Get There" On Ball Rollback

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With the Honda Classic in town and a role in the tournament, Jack Nicklaus talked to media about a variety of topics, including distance.  Over dinner Sunday night, USGA CEO Mike Davis suggested a solution along the lines of what Nicklaus has long proposed is now on the table.

Golfweek's Dan Kilbridge reports:

“Mike said, ‘We’re getting there. We’re going to get there. I need your help when we get there.'” Nicklaus said. “I said, ‘That’s fine. I’m happy to help you. I’ve only been yelling at you for 40 years.’ 1977 is the first time I went to the USGA.”

Nicklaus said sarcastically he assumed that meant the USGA would be studying the issue for ‘another 10 years or so.’

“(Davis) says, ‘Oh, no, no, no. We’re not going to do that. I think we’re getting closer to agreements with the R&A and be able to do some things and be able to help.’ Because the R&A has been – sort of doesn’t want to do anything. I’m hoping that’s going to happen. I’ve talked to Mike a lot. Mike’s been very optimistic about wanting to get something done but hasn’t been able to get there yet.”

Sounds like this is going to get very interesting, very fast.

Milstein's $15 Million Purchase Of Golf Magazine Becomes Official, Also Accelerating Nicklaus Companies Role

The New York Posts Keith Kelley reports on the sale of Golf Magazine to New York Private Bank and Trust, headed by Howard Milstein. The original sale decision was reported on this site December 11th, 2017, with a closing date of January 19th that sources say was extended after negotiations hit snags over a variety of issues.

Kelley puts the price at "around $15 million" and features this statement from Milstein:

“We look foward to continuing Golf Magazine’s long history of editorial excellence, both in its print edition and through its Web site and other offerings,” said Milstein, who is the chairman and chief executive of New York Private Bank and Trust, which operates Emigrant Bank and its private equity arm, Emigrant Capital.

There is also this good news for some of my golf writing colleagues:

Editor-in-Chief David DeNunzio and the entire staff are expected to be retained by the new owners

The deal ends rumors of a collapse in negotiations and any immediate hopes of Milstein purchasing another golf publication. Milstein owns several golf companies and while his plans are unclear, the Golf.com URL and opportunity to cross-promote his various brands appears to be the primary reason for purchasing Golf Magazine.

In other Milstein news, his investment in Jack Nicklaus will continue and change with the Golden Bear stepping away from day-to-day Nicklaus Companies commitments.

For Immediate Release:

A strategy that was born a little more than 10 years ago when Jack Nicklaus brought on Howard Milstein as a partner to grow the business, institutionalize the Nicklaus and Golden Bear brands, and create a transition to the future of one of the golf industry’s most enduring and recognizable companies has reached a juncture where Jack Nicklaus has decided to step away from the day-to-day commitments of the Nicklaus Companies and re-prioritize his time and focus.

The foundations of the Nicklaus Companies were created almost 50 years ago, with the mission to promote the game of golf, preserve its great traditions and grow the game. Over those decades, Nicklaus Companies and its predecessors have been committed to efforts to enhance the golf experience, and to bring to the national and international consumer, golf-related businesses and services that mirror the high standards established in the career and life of Jack Nicklaus. Products and services include golf-course design, development of golf and real estate communities, and the marketing and licensing of golf products and services. Earlier this year, the National Golf Foundation recognized the Nicklaus Companies as one of the Top-100 Businesses in Golf.

Jack Nicklaus is committed to ensuring that the company remains among the industry’s most respected and successful.

“I have spent my life building the Nicklaus Companies, and there has come a time in my life when I need to reduce my level of involvement and pursue many other things I am very interested in, such as charity work—specifically efforts focused on children’s healthcare—supporting the industry’s initiatives to grow this great game, and being involved in many other things outside of my involvement in the Nicklaus Companies,” Jack Nicklaus said.

“I am 78 years old, and while my health is excellent, and I have a great deal of energy and enthusiasm, it became apparent by last fall that it was time for me to spend more time on these other activities. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, and there is no reason for me to do so, because I will continue to support the Nicklaus Companies and I want the company to be successful. However, my life has changed and I wish to support my wife, as well as other family members, in any endeavor they are involved. I have said many times that Barbara spent much of her life supporting me and my career, and for the last few years, I have tried to dedicate my time and energies to supporting her and what she is involved in. I am enjoying that aspect and want to continue to devote my time to her and these other life-changing efforts, and to enjoy our lives together. I would like to thank Howard. He has enabled me to monetize what I have built in this company, take care of my family, and allowed me the time to focus on these other priorities in my life.”

In 2004, a year before Jack played his final competitive round in a major championship, the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation (nchcf.org) was founded. Since then, the Foundation has raised more than $83 million for pediatric care programs in South Florida and beyond. In 2015, world-renowned Miami Children’s Hospital was renamed Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. In November 2017, the entire Miami Children’s Health System was rebranded to Nicklaus Children’s, including 14 outpatient facilities up the Southeast Florida coast and west to Naples.

In 2007, Jack Nicklaus partnered with Howard Milstein to help further the growth of the company and to realize the full potential of the brands and branded businesses. Howard Milstein is Chairman of New York Private Bank & Trust, the country’s largest family owned and operated bank.

Nicklaus-branded products have been marketed worldwide since 1962. The Jack Nicklaus and Golden Bear-branded lifestyle collection of products includes: golf academies; ice cream; restaurants; beverages; beverageware; wine; home appliances; apparel; footwear; and golf equipment. Many of these have been introduced in the last decade, as the focus was placed on building the brand.

Meanwhile, Nicklaus Design continues to be recognized as the world leader in golf course design, with 415 courses open for play in 45 countries and 39 U.S states. Jack Nicklaus has designed, co-designed or re-designed over 300 courses around the globe, more than 100 of which have been ranked in various national or international Top-100 lists. He will continue to support the golf course design projects currently under development.

Jack Nicklaus will remain as Co-Chairman of the Nicklaus Companies, while Milstein will assume the role of Executive Chairman. The Nicklaus Family will continue to be the majority owner of the Company, with Emigrant/Milstein being a significant investor, and Jack Nicklaus II and Gary Nicklaus continue to serve as members of the Board. In addition, Jack Nicklaus II, who has active golf course design projects all over the world, including Malaysia and Vietnam, remains President of Nicklaus Design.

“Jack Nicklaus has basically spent a lifetime building a successful company and brand that is viewed as the strongest in golf, and we embrace the opportunity and responsibility to make certain this great brand—one that represents excellence—continues to grow in global prominence,” Milstein said. “Jack has also built a company with experienced, talented, innovative and hard-working people, and those colleagues are as much a part of his legacy as the company itself. From CEO John Reese to the management team and the entire staff at the Nicklaus Companies, we have enormous confidence in their ability and are positioned so that the next generation of the Nicklaus Companies will build on the strength Jack and his family created, and that Jack will remain very proud of the legacy he has established. Jack will ensure that the company and the people behind it continue the success enjoyed to date, and he will be a part of it for many years to come.”

Milstein, whose passion for the game of golf has led him to acquire in recent years a number of golf-related businesses—such as True Spec, GolfLogix, Miura, and, just this week, GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com—applauded Jack Nicklaus’ commitment to the game and to his many efforts aimed at giving back to the game.

“Everywhere you turn, Jack Nicklaus has left his imprint on the game of golf,” Milstein added. “About 50 years ago, he was instrumental in creating the enormously successful PGA TOUR we know and enjoy today. In 1976, he created the Memorial Tournament—his gift to Central Ohio that has become one of golf’s most prestigious events. He has been a national co-chair and Trustee of The First Tee, and he and the company have become a Trustee of the PGA of America’s charitable arm, PGA REACH. Jack has certainly given far more back to the game than it has given him, and I know he will continue to impact the game and charity on a daily basis. I am proud to call him a partner.

Jack Nicklaus Sounds Like He's On Board With Governing Body "Variable Distance" Option

The A Position's Steve Pike was present when Jack Nicklaus christened The Legend Course today at The Club at Ibis in West Palm Beach, Fla., and the Golden Bear spoke about the distance issue.

While this is hardly news, Mr. Nicklaus did seem to be echoing the USGA's concept of a variable distance ball.

“We ought to rate golf courses,’’ Nicklaus said. “Rather than going back and spending millions of dollars changing golf courses, golf courses should be 100 percent, 90 percent, 80 percent or 70 percent.’’

If golf’s ruling bodies (primarily the U.S. Golf Association) don’t want to roll back the golf ball, he said,  “they need to go to all the golf associations and say ‘This is our criteria to rate your golf courses.’’’

A golf ball would be rated to fit the corresponding course and could be a way to save some older, shorter courses.

“Take an old course that 5,800 yards. That doesn’t challenge anybody. But if you made that a 70 percent golf course and have a 70 percent ball for it, it would play just difficult as (The Legend) from the back tees. “If you want to play an 80 or 100 percent ball, go play it.  All you’re doing is making the course play shorter and faster.’’

Video: Jack On Gameday, Jordan On Corden

Fun times for golf fans getting to see big names in big settings (at least in the U.S.), as Jordan Spieth joined The Late Show with James Corden to talk many things, including his recent round with Barack Obama and also hit some shots at Corden. The Obama talk:



Buckeye Emeritus Jack Nicklaus was the guest picker on ESPN's College Gameday as his (The) Ohio State team took on Penn State in a doozy. He arrived with a caddie, as Kevin Casey noted, and of course the Golden Bear got his OSU-PSU pick right.

 

Jack On Erin Hills: "Great tournament" But "I'm not sure that I thought that was what a U.S. Open should look like"

Fox News' Bret Baier talked to Jack Nicklaus about a range of topics, including the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

I'm not sure that I thought that was what a U.S. Open should look like, but I'm not used to seeing no rough around the green or wide fairways with extreme rough if you hit a real bad tee shot.  And I'm not sure that I thought that was what a U.S. Open should look like, I don't want to be an old fogey about it and say that everything that we did was the right way.  There's other ways to do it and they did it a different way and I think they had a great tournament.

The full interview:

Video: Memorial Tournament Honoree Ceremony

Always one of the classiest days in golf, Greg Norman is the 2017 tournament Honoree and Jerry Tarde received the Journalism Award. Dave Shedloski profiled Norman for Golf World.

Here is the full ceremony posted by Jack Nicklaus on Facebook, with Charlie Meacham's intro of Tarde at the 20:00 mark and Jack Nicklaus's intro of Norman at the 28:00 mark following a short speech by PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.

Jack Welcomes PGA Championship Move To May, Floats Muirfield Village As PGA Option

ESPN.com's Bob Harig on Jack Nicklaus' extensive comments endorsing a Players move to March, a PGA Championship to May and the end of the golf season by Labor Day weekend.

Interestingly, in the remarks I saw, Mr. Nicklaus suggested much of the decision-making at this point is in PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan's court, not the PGA Of America's.

Harig writes:

That would make The Open the last major championship and would clear the way for the PGA Tour to conclude its season earlier by moving its FedEx Cup playoff series, with the idea of finishing by Labor Day.

"To do that, [Monahan] has many moving parts,'' Nicklaus said. "But he wanted us to know he wasn't going to slight us in any way, he wants to encourage us and promote us.''

Nicklaus noted the "dismal" Tour Championship ratings and endorsed the new order of the majors, including the tighter window for play.

"It would bring the majors a little closer together,'' he said. "April [Masters], May [PGA], June [U.S. Open] and July [The Open]. I think that's good, too.''

In a suggestion that we could end up with only May PGA Championships in Olympic years, Nicklaus said he has discussed swapping out a Memorial for a PGA with the five families.

Nick Menta writing for GolfChannel.com:

If Muirfield were to host a future PGA, that would necessitate either a temporary change of venue for the Memorial or, as Nicklaus brought up himself, “a year off.”

“If we took a year off the Memorial Tournament, I’m not sure I’d want to do that or not. I’m not sure that’s what we want for our brand, our tournament. But whatever is best for the game of golf and however it works, I’m more than happy to about it and try to do it.”

Pressed on the issue of a PGA Championship at Muirfield later on, Nicklaus clarified, “I said we would consider it.”

Nicklaus Blames WD's On Entourages, Money

AP's Doug Ferguson reports on Jack Nicklaus's pre-Memorial remarks on player withdrawals due to injuries.

Asked about Rory McIlroy's entry into the 2017 Memorial only to WD to rest an injured rib, Nicklaus said...

“You think I had any injuries when I played? Do you think Arnold had any injuries when he played? Do you think Gary had any injuries when he played? How many tournaments do you think that we entered that we withdrew from during the course of our career?” Nicklaus said.

He put his forefinger to his thumb to signal zero.

“Never entered if I wasn’t going to play,” Nicklaus said.

After mentioning the money in the game, there was this gem about entourages.

“Would they withdraw back 30 years ago? Probably not, because that wasn’t the norm,” Nicklaus said. “We played through it. We had a ton of injuries and I played through it. But that’s sort of the norm today. And the guys … I made my own decisions. I didn’t have an entourage. I didn’t have a fitness trainer. I didn’t have a nutritionist, whatever you all have, somebody to cut my toenails in the morning.

Zing!

"I didn’t have any of that. I did that myself.

“I think that entourage helps make that decision for the player, telling them, ‘We think physically this is probably not right for you to play.’ And that’s what their job is,” Nicklaus said.

DVR Alert And Q&A: "Jack" Producer Israel DeHerrera

Producer Israel DeHerrera, who also served as the lead producer for the critically acclaimed, three-part Arnie film in 2014, led the ambitious team behind "Jack", debuting Sunday night after Live From The Masters.

DeHerrera's Golf Films has worked on numerous projects, including ’86, a chronicle of Nicklaus’ final major championship win at the 1986 Masters.

DeHerrera helps give us some insight into the three-part film that concludes with Monday and Tuesday night airings on Golf Channel.

GS: Give us the timing of how long this documentary has taken from beginning to end?

ID: We first approached Jack at the Memorial Tournament in 2015 about a four part series. The first installment being 86, which premiered on Golf Channel in April 2016, followed by the current three part series.

Golf Films began production right away on 86, and during that process collected content for the larger Jack series. Intense pre-production for the three-part series began in  April 2016,  and post production began in December 2016.

 

GS: What are some of your favorite finds and pieces of footage we’ll see?

ID: There’s some cool footage of Jack attending Jackie and Steve’s high school football game in the early 80’s. He demanded an early tee-time at the World Series at Firestone on Friday so he could fly home for the big game. We found the footage of him at that actual game from an NBC News affiliate. Additionally, we have a lot of home movies and there is some compelling footage of him and his sister as kids with their mom and dad. Great stuff of Jack playing baseball, football and basketball, and footage of him in his dad’s old drug store on the Ohio State campus. But by far, my favorite piece of video was of Jack in Butler Cabin being interviewed during the CBS broadcast by Clifford Roberts after his win in 1972. Roberts says to Jack, “and in connection with that new wine cellar you are building, I am going to send you an entire case of Château Lafite, 1952.” And Jack’s response, (laughing),  “Hello! Look out!“

GS: You tracked down someone who attended every major won by Jack, what was that process like and what was the thinking behind that for the film?

ID: We wanted to make sure we were bringing as much authenticity to the film and taking viewers back in time to feel like they were there for all of these greats moments in Jack’s career. We tried to do that by tracking down an individual who was in attendance at each of his 18 major victories. We also tracked down memorabilia and artifacts from those major victories to help bring these stories to life.

 

GS: There have been rumblings you’ve gone to other GOAT’s to discuss Jack? Who did you get and how did that work out?

Who better to weigh in on the debate of the greatest athlete of all-time than individuals who can actually relate to that stature? From the burden of holding that title and from getting inside the mind of what makes someone stand above the rest, we were fortunate enough to have an elite collection of GOATs weigh in on Jack and his legacy in golf and sports overall, including Roger Federer, Wayne Gretzky, Jerry Rice, Pete Rose, Bill Belichick, Kelly Slater, Richard Petty, and Annika Sorenstam.

 

GS: Jack Nicklaus told the story of the gift you got him as a thank you, give us an idea how you tracked down the artifacts? 

ID: This was a big commitment of Mr. Nicklaus’ time, and I just wanted him to know how much I appreciated him letting Golf Films tell his story. What do you get the man who has everything? Jack and I got to talking about baseball one day and I asked him if he was an Indians or Reds fan. He said Indians, and in fact the first game he had ever attended was a Yankees-Indians game with his dad at Yankee Stadium in 1948.

In that game Bob Feller and Satchell Paige had pitched, and Joe DiMaggio hit a grand slam. I had actually produced a documentary before on Bob Feller and knew that 1948 team very well (World Series champs).

I started doing some research and was able to find the box-score from the game online (of course Jack remembered it all perfectly). I contacted Jimmy Roberts who has a friend, Jeff Idelson, who works for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Jeff put me in touch with someone who collects ticket stubs from every meaningful baseball game that has ever been played. And sure enough he had a stub from that game (he refused payment and said, “Knowing this is going to Jack Nicklaus is payment enough”). I then was able to find a program from that weekend’s game online after weeks of digging. I ordered up original copies of the New York Times from the day before the game and the day after and placed everything in a shadow box with pictures of Jack and his dad plus a picture from that ball game.

 

A sampling from the film:

Jack On Lexi, Scorecard's Signed And A USGA Apology

Pretty gripping stuff yesterday from Jack Nicklaus at a 5 pm Masters pres conference.

First on ball marking...

Q.  In a discussion earlier today with Phil Mickelson about what happened with Lexi Thompson, he suggested that on the TOUR, players are becoming very lax about marking their ball, and maybe the difference between two and three inches on the marks.  Did you ever have problems with that when you were playing?  And secondly, when you saw a rules violation when you were playing, did you bring it to the attention of the player or would you keep mum about it?

    JACK NICKLAUS:  First of all, I was very careful how I marked the ball.  I did not ‑‑ we govern ourselves.  We call rules on ourselves.  The integrity of the game is that you do things the right way.  So I don't think I ever in my career ever marked a ball incorrectly, okay.

    Second, on three occasions on the TOUR, guys were cheating.  And I looked at my playing partner, and he came to me and we talked about it and we said, if it happens again, what do you think.  So on three occasions, it happened again.  Three occasions we took it quietly to the tournament director of the tournament and got out of it.  Nothing was ever said publicly about it.

    Do I like that ‑‑ and I think it's our obligation as a player, if there is a rules violation that's blatant ‑‑ I mean, it could be accidental.  But if it's blatant, then I think it's not fair to the rest of the field not to bring it up.  But you bring it up quietly and try not to embarrass somebody and do it in a class manner that would maybe ‑‑ we had one in The Presidents Cup last time, I think it was last time.  Anyway, and we said, what do we do about it.  And I don't know why I got involved in it.  I wasn't in the tournament but I was there.

    They just got the captains together and had a little conversation with the young man and it was probably the best thing that ever happened to him.  I think you can handle it properly, to his advantage.

    What happened with Lexi, how in the world she did what she did, I don't have any idea.  She had a 12‑inch putt.  She certainly wasn't getting any advantage from it.  And I think she just made a mistake.

    I don't think she did it on purpose.  I don't think she did anything malicious about anything or trying to cheat.  It just happened.  She did it and did it wrong, and it was obvious that she marked it back probably an inch and a half away from where it was.

    So I mean, I don't know her well, but I know her.  I played with her.  Nice gal.  I don't think that's the way she was brought up or the way she would play.  And so I think it just happened to be a mistake.

And then there was this, which was the primary Big Oak topic of the day: the scar on golf caused by scorecard signing, phone-in rulings and the issues created by an outdated system.

    Now, my opinion on that kind of stuff is that once the round is over, and the scorecard is signed, the day is over.  That's my opinion.  I mean, that isn't necessarily what it is.  But that's what I think.

The Golden Bear has spoken.

Then there was this on Oakmont and Dustin Johnson's situation last year.

 I mean, I think what happened with Dustin last year at the U.S. Open, and to tell him on the 12th hole after waiting six holes to tell him; and then waiting, we're going to discuss it at the end of the round, you can't do that.

    I mean, if you're going to penalize somebody, penalize them.  At least let them know and that's when they have the ability to be able to correct it, or try to do the best they can.

    I mean, I had a big argument with Mike Davis about that at The Open.  I says, You can't do that to the guy.

    Says, Oh, we did it throughout.

    I said, Mike, I don't think so.  That was not the right way to do it.  You need to really ‑‑ you've got to tell the kid right away and he's got to know where he stands.

    Mike said, No, I think you're wrong.

    Well, okay.  Taking it back ‑‑ I went to Ireland and next day I'm coming back on an air plane from Ireland and Mike Davis found me over the Atlantic (laughter).  And he says, Jack, I want to apologize.  I think you were right.

    And I thought that was very nice that he did that.  I think the USGA, you don't often hear them say they think they were wrong (laughter).

    And that's not against the USGA or anything.  They are the ruling body in the game and try to do their best and try to do the best of their ability.  For them to make a mistake and think that they were wrong and correct it ‑‑ they had a couple last year that were not real good.

    But I think everybody in the game of golf tries to do it the right way, the best way.  I think there are very, very few people who take advantage of the rules in the game and if somebody does take advantage of the rules of the game, move on and make a lesson of it and I think that's the way we should handle it.