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Filling The Void

Filling The Void: Don’t Poke the (G)olden Bear

Jack Nicklaus wakes from his hibernation with a mighty roar on the back 9.

Jack and Gary by Nate Weigle is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Filling The Void: Don’t Poke the (G)olden Bear

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

The world at large is slowly starting to wake from its self-imposed slumber. Nations, states, cities, and towns everywhere are beginning their attempts at resuming life – whatever that may look like in a pre-vaccine COVID-19 world. For sports leagues around the globe, plans are already in place or currently being hammered out to resume competition. While details are still being discussed, negotiations are still being had, and logistical challenges are being addressed, we at The Turf are continuing our “Filling the Void” series. Since mid-March, we’ve been looking back on remarkable, historic, inspiring and noteworthy sports stories of days gone by.

Today: 1986 Masters Tournament – Final Round

Bulletin Board Material

Tom McCollister was an Atlanta based writer for the Journal-Constitution. In an article published ahead of the 1986 Masters, he offered his thoughts about the field and made some predictions. Here’s what he said about Jack:

“Nicklaus is gone, done. He just doesn’t have the game anymore. It’s rusted from lack of use. He’s 46, and nobody that old wins the Masters.”

Tom McCollister

Given a brief look at Nicklaus’ form coming into Augusta, it’d be hard to argue with McCollister’s assessment. Before this, the oldest Masters winner was Gary Player, who was 42 when he donned the green jacket in 1978. Additionally, Nicklaus hadn’t won a Major in six years, or any PGA tournament in two years for that matter. In fact, as the tournament headed into the weekend, McCollister’s words seemed prophetic.

Jack Makes The Weekend

Nicklaus wrapped up the opening round with a 74. He’d follow it up with a slightly improved, but still pedestrian, 71. He made the cut safely but was looking up at a lot of names ahead of his on the leaderboard. He would post a 69 on Saturday to draw within 4 shots of then leader Greg Norman heading into the final round.

By the time the broadcast came on the air, Jack was well into his final round. He’d played the opening 8 holes at even par and wasn’t really making any waves in terms of the leaderboard. In fact – his name is barely even mentioned in the first half hour of the broadcast. Then he sank a birdie on the 9th hole. The rest, as they say, is history.

Looking Back

Over the years, Jack has admitted that McCollister’s words “helped get him going”. The article had apparently been taped to his refrigerator by a friend of his. Ironically, Jack was later quoted:

“Augusta National is a young man’s golf course, and you really need a young man’s nerves to play on it.”

Jack Nicklaus

Those words certainly seem contradictory after watching this round of golf. It is perhaps one of, if not the, greatest rounds of golf in the sport’s history. Maybe they’ll serve as motivation for someone else the way McCollister’s did for the Golden Bear back in 1986.

See You Tomorrow. Stay Safe. Stay Smart. Wash Your Hands.

We at The Turf have always been of the mind that standing up for what is right and standing up in opposition to hate and violence is necessary. In that same breath, we affirm that Black Lives Matter. To donate to this fight, or for resources on how to help the fight against systemic racism in the United States here is a small portion of the many organizations and groups to consider: Black Visions CollectiveLGBTQ Freedom FundThe Okra ProjectReclaim the BlockColor of ChangeShed Light | Spread Light, and Black Lives Matter

Joe is an actor who grew up eating, living and breathing sports. He spent many an afternoon on the soccer or baseball field in his youth (and even gave several other sports a shot) before a series of events put him on the path to pursuing a performing career. Subsequently, he's worked almost every other type of job you could imagine while trying to support that endeavor. Whenever he's not working any of those jobs, he can often be found watching, playing or discussing sports in some way. Most of that banter revolves around the Mets, Giants, Rangers or Manchester United. His short term goal is to fully convert his fiance into a rabid sports fan, not someone who leaves the room whenever he turns a game on.

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