Nicklaus to visit Presidents Cup contender in Asia

Jack Nicklaus in 2011 at his namesake course in Incheon, South Korea.

Jack Nicklaus in 2011 at his namesake course in Incheon, South Korea.

— Jack Nicklaus left the U.S. on Monday for an 18-day international trip that will take him to New Zealand, Australia and Asia.

One of the Golden Bear’s stops during his whirlwind adventure will be South Korea. With this fall's Presidents Cup set for Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, Nicklaus is interested in going for the double: His visit to Songdo, a master-planned community near Incheon, is designed to help its bid for the 2015 Presidents Cup.

“I'd like to see it going to Songdo, absolutely,” Nicklaus said of hoping to convince officials that the course he designed deserves the nod. “It's got great hotels; it's right by the airport; it's got all the facilities, great clubhouse and everything is there.”

In November 2011 at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced that South Korea would be the first Presidents Cup host in Asia.

“We are delighted to be taking the Presidents Cup to South Korea in 2015,” Finchem said in the announcement. “The growth of the game in Asia is well documented, and the fact that we have three South Korean players on the International Presidents Cup team this year illustrates the strength of golf in that country – which is only going to get stronger in the next four years. Each Presidents Cup has been bigger and better than the one before, and I’m confident South Korea will serve as the perfect stage for the event when it enters its 21st year.”

At the time, Finchem said several venues were expressing interest in serving as host. Nicklaus confirmed other venues are being evaluated as well.

The International Olympic Committee, in the selection process for its host course for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, selected Gil Hanse from among a field of eight finalists that included Nicklaus. Looking at it in hindsight, the 18-major winner said he is glad he was passed over.

“It’s absolutely a disaster,” Nicklaus said of the continual problems that have plagued the Rio site. Regarding others' suggestions that the problems in Rio are not an issue, he responded: “Well, it may not be a problem as long as you're Houdini, and he's gone.”

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