Image: MatthwJ/Flickr

During a press conference call yesterday, Jack Nicklaus spoke briefly about Tiger’s indefinite leave–and how Tiger’s absence will affect his quest to break the Bear’s record for wins in a major.

“If Tiger is going to pass my record, I think this is a big year for him in that regard. If he doesn’t play this year, obviously the chore is going to be a little tougher,” said Nicklaus.

With majors at Augusta, Pebble Beach, and St. Andrews–not to mention Whistling Straits–it’s hard to imagine Tiger will miss any of the majors this year. But there hasn’t been a peep out of the Woods’ camp since his late November accident that started this entire unfortunate situation.

Nicklaus says the game will survive Woods absence–and it will. But at this point in the history of professional golf, does it need to worry about “surviving.” Shouldn’t it be prospering to some degree–even without its greatest star?

Did anyone hear anything about the SBS Championship this past weekend? Geoff Ogilvy won again, by the way.

Golf is totally off the radar. Yes, when major season rolls around, the discussion will certainly pick up. But if Tiger isn’t back yet, the PGA Tour has problems.


Image: MatthwJ/Flickr

The L.A. Times recently reported that, in a nutshell, Jack Nicklaus thinks the current FedEx Cup playoff system is a bunch of crap.

Says the Golden Bear, “Did they play that this year? I didn’t watch a second of it. Two years in a row, it was basically over before the Tour Championship was even played, and that doesn’t make sense.”

You know you’ve got a B.S. system in place when the game’s greatest ambassador believes it’s a joke. This is what we call a public relations nightmare for the PGA Tour.

“They still have some tweaking to do,” Nicklaus said. “It has a tendency to take away from the rest of the tour events. It’s always, ‘He’s got X-amount of FedEx Cup points.’ A guy doesn’t give a rat about FedEx points, he cares about how he’s playing.”

Let’s hope Commissioner Finchem is listening. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I would love to see the FedEx Cup come down to a 32 man match play tournament at the Tour Championship. I’m sure that will never happen, just like we’ll never have a playoff in college football. But a man can dream, can’t he?

The sun set at 6:19 this evening. Just enough time for me to quickly hit a bag of balls after work.

Trying to balance golf, career, and life, I follow sunsets on Wednesdays and Thursday with strong interest. You see, I get off work at 5:30 p.m. By the time, I navigate the back roads to the driving range nearest to my home, it’s nearly 6:00.

I play or practice golf twice a week. Once on the weekend, usually Saturday. And once mid-week, either Wednesday or Thursday.

In July, I could walk nine holes with ease—even hit a bag or two of balls afterwards. But these days, a brief traffic jam or a delayed exit from work could alter my early evening plans to hit a few range balls.


Image: Adam/Flickr

I love the fall. This season brings football and family holidays—some of the best times of the year. But it also brings the dreaded time change, which arrives in just three weeks. And while October weekends are ideal for playing, the weekdays have little to offer in terms of golf.

For those of us who work the standard 40 hour, 5 day work week, thirty minutes of practice on an October weekday is about all we can hope for.

But I’m determined to keep playing, somehow, throughout the fall. I want to reestablish my handicap for spring tournaments, to finally get some sort of feel in my short game (is it possible?), and not lose any progress I’ve made since rediscovering this sport in the spring.

Most amateur golfers hybernate in the winter. I’m going to try my best this fall and winter to stay as sharp as possible. Maybe I just need Jack Nicklaus to come build a course in my backyard.

So how do you handle the winter golf doldrums? Do you have a practice schedule? Do you play at all? Any advice?


This Christmas, invite the Golden Bear to build a course in your backyard. (Image:MatthwJ/Flickr)

Don’t you just dream of the day when you’ll have a custom designed Jack Nicklaus golf course in your backyard?

Well, wait no more. Tear down the patio, rip up the deck, move the grill to the garage. Because for a cool million dollars, you can indulge your golf fantasies with a three-hole track designed by one of the game’s greatest golfers–right in the comfort of your backyard.

Neiman Marcus has teamed with the Golden Bear to offer this Christmas gift for golfers who have apparently run out of things to spend their money on. Yeah, Wal-Mart and Target offer golf nets and cheap indoor putting greens. Neiman Marcus…um, they sell golf courses.

Says Neiman Marcus:

Jack will study topography, aerial photos, and landscape maps for the site, then send his team to survey the property. He’ll create a formal design plan and color renderings for up to three holes and a practice area, depending on the size of your back forty. Your construction crew builds from it, with supervision from Jack’s world-class design team (the same team pursued by premier club owners worldwide). Now to sink the winning putt; when your course is finished, the Golden Bear himself will stop by to play the first round with you, personally. More? He’ll sign his club and ball for your collection and throw in a custom set of Nicklaus clubs, including a personalized bag.

Oh, and if you visit the page, notice the copy at the bottom: “Construction and site preparation costs not included.” Probably another hundy thousand or two for that.

I’m picturing Jack’s design on my property, if I had an extra million to blow. The first hole, a 12 yard par 3 over a water drain. The second, an uphill 15-yard, dogleg right par 4 around a magnolia tree. And the finishing hole, a 14 yard par 4 with OB right and barking weiner dog left. I think I could take Jack on this baby.

I make fun, but I’d love to see this course once it’s finished. I just can’t fathom having the resources to do this. Let’s hope the crazed golfer who makes this purchase actually does have the resources to do this and isn’t cleaning out the mutual funds and taking out an exorbant HELOC loan. Golfers are a crazy breed, so you never know.

So you have less than three months. Start saving now.

Think I’m joking? Read more from Neiman Marcus.