by Jeff Skinner
Justin Rose had precious little time to bask in the glow of his first PGA Tour win as he had to leg out a 36 hole qualifier for the U.S. Open on Monday. Unfortunately for Rose he’ll have to make do with the crystal Jack Nicklaus handed him as he failed to qualify for Pebble Beach. His nearest rival at The Memorial, Rickie Fowler met the same fate and he’ll have Father’s Day weekend off too.
It was a great weekend at The Memorial and each year Jack Nicklaus shows us how much this game means to him. Listening to Jack is one of the special perks of The Memorial and Brett Avery has a wonderful piece in this week’s Golf World. He spent a great deal of time putting together a compilation of Jack’s thoughts on a number of subjects over the years. Take a few minutes to see what Jack had to say on all things golf. It’s well worth the time.
Here are a few thoughts from Jack that are still relevant today.
When people ask me about my goals in golf, I answer with a question. What does everybody in golf set as a goal? The answer, of course, is Bobby Jones. I don’t see how anybody can handle himself as well as Bobby Jones has. He knew when to quit. If he hadn’t quit when he did, some of the luster might have been lost, but as it turned out, nothing can ever be taken away from him. He’s fantastic. He is the greatest golfer who ever lived and probably ever will live and he’s one of the greatest persons. That’s my goal. Bobby Jones. It’s the only goal.
[Golf magazine, 1959]
I learned I gotta hit the ball better.
[Columbus Dispatch, 1960, asked after the 1960 U.S. Open what he learned being paired with Ben Hogan for the final, 36-hole finish]
I want to be the best golfer the world has ever seen.
For no reason that I could perceive, suddenly at [the] 1965 Masters I was no longer golf’s Black Hat. For the first time in my career, right from the opening drive on Thursday, entire galleries had rooted for me. “Go get ’em, Jack!” and “Attaboy, big fella!” and “Birdie every hole!” people had yelled all the way around, and the same on Friday.
The biggest tension-reliever of all in golf is confidence… The second-biggest is within anyone’s capacity. It is concentration.
[Golf My Way]
Most putting troubles stem from being scared or indecisive, or both.
[Golf Digest, 1972]
You don’t get mad at Pebble Beach because it will only hurt you worse.
[Sports Illustrated, 1972]
Of all my contemporaries, Lee Trevino has been the hardest to beat.
You answer questions a lot different when you’re 39 than when you were 25. At 25, I was brutally honest; at 39, I’m carefully honest.
[Golf World, 1979]
Today, if any young athlete were to ask my advice, I would counsel him not to be too slick, to be himself, and to try and temper honesty with tactfulness.
[The Greatest Game of All]
I knew exactly how intimidating I was, and I’ve got to tell you, it was a tremendous advantage.
Don’t ever try to tell me golf is not 99.9 percent a mental game.
I’ve never missed a putt in my mind.
[Golf Digest, 1994]
I always thought the U.S. Open made a man out of you more than any other tournament.
Life is an adventure. You do the best you can to plan, but you never know what’s going to happen. It’s kind of nice to not know what is around the corner. That’s the adventure.
[USA Today, 2010, from his 70th birthday press conference]