Nicklaus Outlines (In Great Detail) His Final (?) Overhaul Of Muirfield Village

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This is a long one but certainly no shortage of meat on this bone!

For Immediate Release…

Muirfield Village Golf Club set to undergo course renovations for 2020 and 2021 

Dublin, Ohio – Muirfield Village Golf Club, home of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, officially announced today a two-phase course renovation project that will be overseen by the Club’s founder and course designer, Jack Nicklaus. The renovations will take place over the next two years and will include three new teeing grounds, rebuilt greens and bunkers, and a redesigned fifth hole.   

Phase One will begin this fall and include new back teeing grounds for the par-3 8th hole, par-5 11th and par-5 15th, as well as new rough area for the par-5 5th hole.

A new rough area?

The work will be completed by this May and used during the 2020 Memorial Tournament, June 1-7. Each new tee box will add yardage to its respective hole, with No. 8 increasing by 25 yards, No. 11 by 15 yards and No. 15 by 30 yards. The changes will increase the total course yardage from the tips to 7,462 yards. Nicklaus’ ground-breaking and innovative design—done originally with input from the late Desmond Muirhead and officially dedicated on May 27, 1974—first played at 6,978 yards.

Well, little more than input, but let’s not get lost in a credit battle when the real eye-opener is the nearly 500-yard increase. And that Nicklaus is adding more might suggest he’s either not confident in distance regulation, or feels even with some rule changes some day that the yardage is needed.

To begin Phase Two of the renovation, Muirfield Village Golf Club will close the course July 6, 2020, at which time all 18 greens will be rebuilt, including new sub-surface heating and cooling equipment. Bunkers will be re-built, tees leveled, and the irrigation system upgraded.

As fairways are regrassed, Nicklaus said he will create new fairway widths, but keep them “fairly generous off the tee,” which has been a trait at Muirfield Village.

All greens will be laser-scanned prior to the beginning of Phase Two in order to retain the general slopes of the original design, with any modifications taking place in the field by Nicklaus. “Once we decided to redo the greens, I realized I wanted to make some minor changes to the contours,” Nicklaus said.

Once a tinkerer, always a tinkerer!

Phase Two will also include a redesign of Hole No. 5. The new layout will include an expanded landing area and convert Muirfield Village’s first par 5 on the outward nine to a par 4 during Tournament play, making the layout a par 71 for the 2021 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. “It’s the easiest hole on the golf course,” Nicklaus said. “They play a 3-wood or iron off the tee not to reach the creek, and then play a 5- or 6-iron into the green. I just want to create more landing area on the tee shot, so that quite often they will play driver off the tee, and then play 5 or 6 iron into the green as a true par 4.”

Sad, but true.

“This will probably be my last bite at the apple,” Nicklaus said. “I’ve done little tweaks on the golf course throughout the years, and some significant changes, like the par-3 16th. This time, we are going through the golf course, A to Z, and making sure we do everything at one time.”

One thought, just, you know, off the top of my head: maybe a little work on that new 16th too? Just saying…

“My director of grounds operations, Chad Mark, is a good man, and he helped talk me into it. He said Jack, ‘Once we’re in there, let’s just do this thing right!’ Once we decided to redo the greens, improve the irrigation system, redo bunkers and regrass fairways, the collective group—one that included Chad, General Manager Nicholas LaRocca, Head Professional Larry Dornisch and Memorial Tournament Executive Director Dan Sullivan—basically said, ‘Jack, if you are going back in there and do all this work, and the course is going to be down, you don’t want to go back to the membership and redo it again five years later for irrigation or three years later for bunkers. Let’s get the whole thing done!’ So that’s what we are doing.”

Mark has already developed a detailed timeline for the project and is excited about the work ahead.

Hopefully he consulted Chief Leatherlips.

“Working closely with Mr. Nicklaus, and with support from Nicklaus Design Associate Chris Cochran and our team at Muirfield Village, we envision the fairway bunkers and irrigation getting started after the 2020 Memorial and jumping into greens as soon as we can in July,” Mark said. “Once greens are completed in late August, and fairways and approaches are re-seeded to bentgrass, we will then finish the bunkering and push juvenile turfgrass toward maturity. Work in spring 2021 will include punch-work items with irrigation, compacting bunker sand, mending sod seams, and plugging any thin turf.”

Quick turnaround to the 2021 Memorial…

“We are very excited to carry out the vision of Mr. Nicklaus, and I think the end result will only further elevate an already spectacular golf course!”

Nicklaus emphasized that while many of the enhancements will make Muirfield Village Golf Club a better tournament venue, the renovation is also being done with the membership always front of mind.

“From what I have heard thus far, the membership is really excited about bringing the golf course back to state of the art, which they felt it was a few years ago,” Nicklaus said. “I want to make sure I do the best I can for the membership and for the Memorial Tournament. I’m putting in as many forward member tees as I can at Muirfield Village and The Bear’s Club. I will put in some forward tees at Muirfield Village while I am doing this. I have to make the golf course playable for its membership.” 

But….

“But my belief is that tournament golf should be a test to find out who is the best golfer that week. Far too many tournaments have eliminated the rough and firmness of greens, and that is just not my idea of what the game of golf should be. So I am going to stick with my old-fashioned beliefs about how the game of golf should be played and the way golf courses should be set up. How the USGA’s Joe Dey used to set up courses is how I learned and how I thought golf should be played. It’s the guy who drives the ball the straightest; the guy who plays the best iron game; the guy who is best around the greens and is sometimes challenged when he doesn’t play a good shot to the green; and the guy who putts well. The whole gamut of all shots is what the game of golf is all about. The game should challenge every facet of every club in the bag.”

Read into that however you like, but it sure sounds like the Golden Bear is tired of waiting around for governing body action on distance and defending skill.

Jack Nicklaus To Renovate His Muirfield Village Design (Again)

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Tim Rosaforte reports on Jack Nicklaus announcing to the Muirfield Village members a planned greens redo, not the first for his co-design with Desmond Muirhead.

Most noteworthy may be the efforts to lengthen the 11th and 15th holes, two splendid back nine par-5s he’s been unwilling to stretch out. Does Nicklaus believe regulatory help is not coming and this is why he did so, or is he believing that even with some sort of change in equipment rules, the tees are still needed?

Jack: “I Don’t Like The New Major Schedule”

In early August Jack Nicklaus appeared on BBC’s Radio 5 Live and his criticism of the new condensed major schedule was noted by Golf Monthly.

The comments came after Justin Rose pointed out concerns about the shortened major season and before Rory McIlroy joined the fray last week.

“I don’t like the new Major schedule, from the stand point that if you have an injury, or if you’re struggling with one tournament, all of a sudden the other one follows too closely, to get it back,” 18-time Major winner Jack Nicklaus told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I’m not sure that that’s really a good thing for the game of golf, to have all your tournaments in about three and a half months. And I don’t think it’s good for the other tournaments on the Tour.

“The guys have got to skip a lot of tournaments – you saw that this year – guys weren’t playing in between Majors. And I think that’s a shame for the Tour.”

As host of the Memorial, Nicklaus is clearly monitoring the impact and not liking what he sees.

“I know that the all-mighty dollar is important, but I don’t think it’s so important that you really lose out on the tradition of the great tournaments that have been played for years and years and years.”

Nicklaus worrying about those surrounding non-majors events is admirable and something that the PGA Tour will have to examine before locking in the schedule long term.

The interview is not available online but a BBC site posting about Nicklaus’s comments focused largely on Tiger Woods. And included this:

"I think it will work against Tiger - unless he's really healthy," Nicklaus said. 

Nicklaus: Sebonack Will Get A U.S. Open Someday

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Mark Herrmann of Newsday talks to Mike Davis of the USGA after recent Jack Nicklaus comments suggesting Sebonack will some day host a U.S. Open. The course is a co-design by Nicklaus and Tom Doak.

 Speaking at a Long Island Association luncheon recently, the 18-time major winner said, “I think we’re going to get the U.S. Open out there…and it won’t be long.” He wrote something similar when he served as guest editor of Golf magazine last month,

Davis, interviewed at this year’s Open here, said, “It’s one of many courses that has offered an invitation to host it. When it gets to that, there’s actually a team — I’m not necessarily engaged in that any more — but I daresay that there are probably 25-plus courses that have interest. The team does an analysis of every single course. I think it’s fair to say of every one of those that I’ve seen, is there a possibility? Absolutely.

The course hosted the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open and sits next to National Golf Links and Shinnecock Hills, host of the 2026 U.S. Open.

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.”