With U.S. Open sectional qualifying set for Monday, The Forecaddie thinks it’s appropriate to share one of the best U.S. Open qualifying stories he’s heard.
The year was 1983, and a 14-year-old Gary Nicklaus was competing in a 36-hole qualifier at Hunter’s Run in Boynton Beach, Fla. Gary’s famous father, Jack Nicklaus, was on the bag. At the time, the elder Nicklaus had won 17 majors and was coming off a WD at the 1983 Masters because of back spasms.
At the qualifier it was Jack’s math skills that spasmed.
As Nicklaus tells it to The Man Out Front, Gary had parred the opening two holes when they arrived at a par-3 and Gary asked for a 4-iron.
“I looked in the bag and said, ‘Ah, would you like to play your 4-iron or my 4-iron?’” Jack said.
Gary had an extra club in his bag and was penalized four shots. He didn’t qualify that year, but wouldn’t have even without the penalty.
“It was my fault because I was the caddie,” said Jack, who played the U.S. Open later that summer at Oakmont and tied for 43rd. “But it was also his fault because he didn’t count the clubs. … I felt horrible.”
How did the younger Nicklaus handle it?
“You see this scar here?” Jack quipped, pointing to his face.
TMOF just laughs, especially when you consider Jack had caddied for his other son, Jack Jr., in a U.S. Open qualifier the year before and lost his son’s ball on the first hole.
Yes, Jack Nicklaus – great player, but definitely not the best caddie. Gwk