My Shot: Jack Nicklaus

Continued (page 3 of 3)

When Barbara's mother died, Woody came by the funeral home. The atmosphere was sad, but a ways into it I look over, and there's Woody in a corner with my four boys. I walk over, and he's giving them a lesson on military history, deflecting the sadness. I was thinking how thoughtful that was when Barbara gets a phone call. It was Woody's wife, wanting to know if Woody was there. She asked if he had his walker with him, and whether his car was in the parking lot. It turned out Woody had just had a stroke and wasn't supposed to be out of the house, let alone not have his walker or try to drive a car. But he wanted to be there for Barbara and the boys and snuck away to be there. Woody's legacy is mixed, but in my opinion he was a great man.

If a cell phone or camera going off disrupts you, you've got issues with concentration or your golf game. If you're totally absorbed in the shot you're playing, how can you hear anything?

My dreams are productive. Many times I've been near the lead in a golf tournament despite having trouble with some part of my game. I can't seem to fix the problem no matter how many balls I hit or how much thought I give it. Then I'll go to bed and dream I'm working on the problem, and when I wake up I have the answer. Usually it's something small, like my eye alignment or weight distribution.

Gary Player likes to say, "Jack is not only the best winner of all time, he's the best loser." The "best loser" part of that bugs me.

It implies I'm adept at losing. I've asked Gary to substitute the word "gracious" for "best," or just say "Jack is a good sport," but he won't do it. He gets too big a kick out of complimenting and teasing me at the same time.

There are more good players today. There were more great players in my day.

The PGA Tour's prohibition against players wearing shorts started when Jimmy Demaret wore a pair of very short shorts at the 1961 World Cup in Puerto Rico. When Jimmy stooped to line up putts, his shorts turned out to be very revealing. Now, I have no objection to the PGA Tour's mandate that players wear long pants.

But I wear shorts 99 percent of the time, including when I go to the office, so I wouldn't object if knee-length shorts were permitted when the temperature gets around 90 degrees.

Friendships are valuable. If your partner is also your best friend, that's invaluable.

I just made Barbara smile.

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