Ever hear the one about Jack Nicklaus getting a sippy glass after a bad tournament?

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DUBLIN, Ohio – Happened to the best of them.

On Wednesday ahead of the Memorial Tournament, Xander Schauffele admitted the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island got into his head leading into last month’s PGA Championship and he never recovered, thus missing the cut.

“I had somewhat of a bad attitude about the golf course. I just didn’t really like it,” Schauffele said. “I’m not saying I had enough game to win that week, but I definitely had enough game to compete, and for me to miss the cut was a bit reckless and kind of stupid. Just didn’t really like the course and moving forward even if I don’t like a course, I got to wash that out of my mind and move along.”

A few hours later, in his annual meeting with the media at the event he hosts played on a course he built, Jack Nicklaus, the greatest major champion in the game, admitted to the occasional mental lapse Schauffele talked about.

And one time it earned him a sippy glass.

“Are you kidding? Sure. Absolutely,” Nicklaus said when asked if a golf course ever got into his head. “Not very often. But you realized it when you did it. I can go back through the years and quickly pick out three or four sites that didn’t fit my eye or something I didn’t like or didn’t prepare for.”

Like Nicklaus said, not many golf courses threw him off his game – he won a record 18 majors, after all, and finished second a record 19 times in majors, and won 73 PGA Tour titles in all.

But Pecan Valley in San Antonio did get into his head in the 1968 PGA Championship won by Julius Boros. Nicklaus shot 71-79 to miss the cut.

“I just, I didn’t, I never got interested,” Nicklaus said. “I mean, it was ridiculous. You only got four majors a year. What in the world are you doing? I mean, that’s stupid. And you know, you’re not supposed to fit the golf course to your eye, you’re supposed to fit your eye to the golf course. In other words, you’re supposed to fit your game to the course. That’s why we play different courses. Otherwise, we play the same course every week. So that was my fault to do that.”

Twenty years later, at the PGA Championship at Oak Tree in Oklahoma, it happened again. While Jeff Sluman won the Wanamaker Trophy, Nicklaus shot 72-79 to miss the cut.

“I didn’t prepare properly for Oak Tree and then I had to stay over, after I missed the cut, I had to stay over to do television. And, you know, there’s nothing worse than staying over the weekend and talking about somebody else playing golf after you missed the cut. I promise you that. It’s not a lot of fun,” Nicklaus said.

On that Saturday, his wife, Barbara, went to McDonald’s.

Jack Nicklaus sippy cup
Jack Nicklaus sippy cup

Jack Nicklaus sippy cup (Photo submitted)

“She brought me back a little sippy cup that she got from McDonald’s. It said, ‘There is no excuse for not being properly prepared,’” Nicklaus said. “I still got that cup. But I mean, she’s absolutely dead right.”

Nicklaus brought up six-time major champion and former rival Lee Trevino and his dislike for Augusta National.

“He said he could never play at Augusta. He says, ‘I can’t play this golf course. The golf course doesn’t fit me.’ I said, ‘Lee, it’s not supposed to fit you, you’re supposed to fit your game to the golf course,’” Nicklaus said. Lee Trevino was as good a golfer as ever lived. This guy could really play golf. And he just got it in his head that he could not play that golf course.

“And we all get that occasionally. So I had weeks where I just didn’t either feel good or I wasn’t motivated. Why, I don’t know. Not too many, fortunately, because most of the time I was ready to play.”

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