There's no getting around it: Jack Nicklaus swings like an old man. Of course, that's because he is an old man. And even his old-man swing is better than you or I could ever hope to achieve. And watching him take his cuts, even now, is like watching John Hancock sign his name.
Wednesday's Skins Game might have been the single greatest concentrated collection of golf talent in decades. When Camilo Villegas is the least-heralded of your eightsome, you're talking some serious heavyweights. But while Vijay Singh, Padraig Harrington, Kenny Perry and the rest played well, all eyes were on Tiger and Nicklaus. And they didn't disappoint, Tiger playing relentless golf
The players were miked up, which led to a lot of forced-sounding laughter and some of that classic golf hokeyness that we wade through, year after year. Tiger and Jack talking about parenting was so sticky-sweet and treacly it needed a tinkling-piano soundtrack behind it. But such moments were, thankfully, rare -- and you expect some of that sentimental hogwash at a golf tournament anyway.
Best moment of the tournament? When Tiger was asked, midway through the round, about being even with Jack in skins. He replied something like, "But I'm ahead in the money. So I'm winning." He was smiling, but he was also deadly serious.
Woods absolutely respects Nicklaus, but he doesn't worship him. He called Nicklaus "Jack" with the kind of easy familiarity that comes from feeling equal to someone. That surely doesn't sit well with some fans of old-school golf, but it works just fine for me. Because soon enough, there'll be some kid who comes along that doesn't quail into jelly at the sight of Tiger. And when that day comes, whether it's in 2015 or 2035, here's hoping Tiger will be as classy in recognizing the coming of a new age as Jack was.