2005: Newsmakers - Tearful Nicklaus, 65, steps aside

Jack Nicklaus always has said ceremonial golf would never be for him. So after striking a sensational 6-iron to 4 feet at the par-4 ninth hole on Saturday – Nicklaus’ 36th hole of the 69th Masters – the 65-year-old legend stood on the green next to his son/caddie, Jackie, and wiped away tears. He later announced he likely had competed for the last time at a place where he made an impact like no other player.

“I don’t think I’ll venture on the golf course again for a tournament round,” Nicklaus said after shooting 77-76 in his 45th Masters appearance. He won six times.

Unlike the final appearance made by Arnold Palmer a year ago, Nicklaus made his exit with little fanfare. For one, because players had to go off split tees after weather delays, Nicklaus finished his second round on the ninth hole. Fellow competitors Jay Haas and Shingo Katayama putted out to set the stage for Nicklaus, who missed his birdie putt to the right.

“He lost most of his strokes this week around the greens,” said Jackie of his father. “I’d love to see him play more.”

Nicklaus plans to play the British Open at St. Andrews in July, and will have his son, Steve, on the bag. As for future appearances at Augusta, Nicklaus will visit during tournament week for the Champions Dinner and Par 3 Contest, but said it’s unlikely he’ll play again. He did leave open the door to exercise his option to play if he feels up to it.

“Every year I wait,” he said, “the harder it’s going to be to break 80.”

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