Welcome to Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Jay Busbee and head writer Jonathan Wall take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. Suggest a future topic by writing firstname.lastname@example.org, or hit us on Twitter at @jaybusbee and @jonathanrwall. Today, we consider how the Golden Bear might do were he playing today.
Busbee: So this week we're in Jack Nicklaus territory, and with that in mind, let's do a little thought experiment: how well would Jack Nicklaus fare on Tour today? Not the 2012 Jack, of course. I'm talking 1965 Jack Nicklaus, coming off a Masters win, inspiring that famous Bobby Jones quote about playing a game with which Jones was not familiar. Drop that Jack in 2012, give him some current-model sticks, keep him away from those newfangled iPhones, don't tell him about John Lennon...how's he going to do?
Wall: Now this is a topic! If we're going with Jack Nicklaus (circa 1965), then we're talking about a legend who was about to enter the prime of his career. He still had 14 major championship wins left in him, which is the same number Tiger Woods is stuck on at the moment. So how would he do, huh? That's like asking how Michael Jordan (circa 1991) would do in today's NBA. Obviously, I think Nicklaus would still thrive on today's tour, especially with the new technology. Staying in shape on the course wasn't that big of a deal back in the 1960s, so I think he'd lose out in the distance battle, but with the exception of Tiger Woods, nobody in the game had a better killer instinct than Jack. He stared down Arnold Palmer and Gary Player early in his career, and took on Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller and Tom Watson as things were winding down. I know the PGA Tour is as deep as it's ever been, but when you realize how many great players Nicklaus had to go up against and what he was able to accomplish, I think he wouldn't have any problem with today's crop of youngsters. Would he win 14 majors over the rest of his career? I'm not sure. But I still think '65 Jack Nicklaus would be one hell of a force on today's tour. What do you think?Read More »from Teeing Off: How would Jack Nicklaus fare today?