St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version


TPC is reason Jack's playing

By BOB HARIG, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 21, 2003

LUTZ -- Jack is back, and there's a big reason why: the TPC of Tampa Bay.

Yes, Jack Nicklaus, after a year of virtual inactivity due to a bad back, is hoping to play more this year, and is looking for opportunities to get his game in shape.

But it's unlikely he'd be here for the Verizon Classic if it weren't for the course, one of his favorites on the Champions Tour. Nicklaus is making his sixth appearance in the tournament, which he won in 1996.

"I like the golf course," Nicklaus said Thursday before he played in the pro-am. "I think it's a golfer's golf course. You've got to play some pretty good golf here. I enjoy that.

"When we first started playing here (1992), it was one of the few courses on the senior tour that you had to play golf. We've got more good courses now. But this is a nice course, and it was one of the first ones."

The course has received similar reviews from other players.

"It's in great shape, one of the best we play," said Bob Gilder, who won the 2001 Verizon Classic. "It's in the best shape I've seen it."

MASTERS BOUND?: Nicklaus remains undecided about whether he will play in the Masters for the 43rd time. After playing in the tournament 40 straight times, Nicklaus missed it in two of the past four years.

And though the tournament has set an age limit for past champions, he said that will not alter his decision. The Masters changed its lifetime exemption last year; past winners will be able to play through their 65th birthday.

"I'm supposedly eligible for three more years, according to their new rules," he said. "I didn't realize that lifetime meant 65, I didn't realize that was the end of your life. That has nothing to do with it. If I can play golf, I'll play. If I can't play golf, I'm not going to play."

Nicklaus said he might play the Doral event on the PGA Tour in two weeks as preparation just in case.

"I'm considering it," he said. "I don't want to clutter up the field, but I got a nice letter from them asking me to play. If I'm going to play Augusta, I probably have to play a tournament on the regular tour."

BACK FROM THE BOOTH: Gary McCord, the CBS analyst and part-time Champions Tour player, is playing in his first event of the year this week after doing four PGA Tour events for the network.

"I do this every year, I come out of hibernation," he said.

That's why McCord doesn't expect much. But upon further reflection, he realized he has done quite well in his early season outings.

Three years ago, McCord began the season with a tie for second and last year his first tournament came in Mexico, where he tied for second.

"I don't know what it is," said McCord, who has two Champions Tour victories. "It's probably better if I don't play a lot, because the demons don't come back. I've had pretty good success, but I don't know how."

ARNIE IS AILING: Arnold Palmer was unable to play his pro-am round due to a bad back. He apparently suffered a minor injury this week. He tried to warm up on the driving range, but was in too much pain to proceed. Palm Harbor's Jay Overton, one of the alternates for the tournament, took his spot in the pro-am. If Palmer can't play today, Ted Goin will take his spot in the field.

PRO-AM: Tom Wargo's pro-am team had the winning score, 21-under-par 51. Wargo's amateur partners were Damon Hyde, Micky Carney, Jody Reed and Bill Weltlin.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk

John Romano:
  • Tyson Freak Show in full swing again

  • Golf
  • From mediocre to meteoric
  • Funk's putter prowess earns clubhouse lead
  • TPC is reason Jack's playing

  • NFL
  • Jets cut ties with ex-Bucs

  • Baseball
  • Phils get visit from Alstott
  • Angelos calls for a ban on ephedrine

  • NHL
  • Roberts helps lift Leafs over Capitals

  • College basketball
  • Wake Forest protects spot at top
  • Duke routs Heels; ACC streak at 37

  • In brief
  • Capriati rolls into semifinals at Dubai

  • TV/Radio
  • Barkley not buying into Bryant hype

  • NBA
  • Payton, Allen in major trade

  • Motorsports
  • New tracks could take race from Rockingham

  • Preps
  • Slow start leads to Bulls loss
  • Stalwart defense carries Knights
  • Hooks rescues St. Pete Catholic
  • Hustle carries Durant to win
  • Cambridge follows its lessons in blowout
  • Lakewood lets chances slip away with season
  • Gattusos lead Eagles past Sonrise
  • Marauders get a needed breather
  • Tornadoes make it look easy
  • Pasco wastes no time putting away Patriots
  • Experience down stretch lifts Rams
  • Tampa Bay Tech ends it quickly
  • Villanova lands Fabrizio

  • Outdoors
  • Krazy about kayaks
  • This time of year is better than you'd think

  • Rays
  • Fabregas knows place on team, if he gets one
  • Colome's outing is 'tremendous'

  • Bucs
  • Christy might be first cap casualty
  • Dungy: Bucs' win 'was bittersweet'

  • Lightning
  • Vinny poses for SI
  • Lightning's success in details

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts