Nicklaus miffed by big-name Memorial withdrawals

The greatest of them all, Jack Nicklaus, admits he would never enter a tournament if he didn’t intend to play in it.

And for that reason The Golden Bear was a little nonplussed at the withdrawals of his signature event, The Memorial in Dublin, Ohio last weekend.

Jack Nicklaus Jack Nicklaus

With his 18-major career now looking seemingly impregnable, given Tiger Woods’ latest health problems, Nicklaus lamented the absence of some big names who were ‘scratchings’ from The Memorial.

Without naming them, Nicklaus was obviously referring to Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Paul Casey…three big names who failed to show up on Ohio.

McIlroy cited a rib injury he wanted to ensure was fully healed before the US Open; Rose pulled out with a sore back and Casey dropped out with a foot injury.

And although McIlroy did do the courtesy of explaining to Nicklaus why he wasn’t there, Jack still spoke of his era playing against the liked of Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.

“You think I had any injuries when I played?” he said. “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 then put his forefinger to his thumb to signal zero.

“Never entered if I wasn’t going to play,” he said. “Would they withdraw back 30 years ago? Probably not, because that wasn’t the norm.”

“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.”

“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 he had shared his concerns with PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.