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Archive for Saturday, July 19, 2008

Nicklaus questions desire of PGA’s youth

July 19, 2008

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— Jack Nicklaus noticed some old faces atop the leaderboard during a brief visit to British Open on Friday, making him wonder if younger players have too much money and not enough desire.

Nicklaus' private jet arrived as 53-year-old Greg Norman was on his way to another round of even-par 70 to take a one-shot lead. Tom Watson, a 58-year-old with five claret jugs, opened with a 74 in the worst of the weather at Royal Birkdale, and 49-year-old Tom Lehman also had 74 in the first round.

As for the youth?

"If they don't win, they still walk home with a big check," Nicklaus said. "They don't have to do some of the things the Watsons had to do, the Normans, the Lehmans, and that's to gut it out ... It just makes it appear as though the guys who have had that experience are coming to the top."

Nicklaus was at the Open on behalf of the Royal Bank of Scotland, one of his endorsement deals. Those kinds of contracts weren't available when he turned pro in 1962.

"When we played golf, it wasn't to make a living," Nicklaus said. "It was to make a name for yourself so you could make a living."

The winner of the British Open will earn about $1.5 million, more than 25 percent of Nicklaus' career earnings on the PGA Tour.

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