All in the Family/ Jack calls it a day!!
Houston Astros pitcher Roger Clemens, left, talks with his son, Koby, during batting practice Thursday, July 14, 2005, in Houston. Koby, drafted in the eighth round with the 254th pick, signed a contract with the Astros before practice.
JACK SAYS GOODBYE!
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — They stood on rooftops and leaned against chimney pipes. They peered through the open windows of the stately Royal and Ancient clubhouse. They stood 10 deep in front of the shops and flats that line the 18th fairway of golf’s most famous course.
They were there to witness history, a few well-earned tears, and, as it turned out, one wonderfully nostalgic, goose-bump moment when Jack Nicklaus wound the clock back to 1978 and turned the Old Course into a high-decibel chamber.
At exactly 5:58 p.m. local time — so said the timepiece on the stone R&A building — Nicklaus struck the 72nd and final shot of his majors playing career. The birdie putt traveled 13 or so feet and then succumbed to gravity and, who knows, maybe fate. It was the near-perfect ending to the near-perfect golfer.
“I knew that the hole would move wherever I hit,” Nicklaus said later.
He was kidding … I think. Nicklaus and the Old Course have been holding hands almost as long as he and sweetheart Barbara have been together, so anything is possible. Perhaps this was No. 18’s way of saying, “Thank you.”
Nicklaus didn’t make the British Open cut Friday afternoon, but he didn’t have to. Nobody is going to judge him by his rounds of 75-72, respectable numbers that left him just out of reach of weekend play. After all, Nicklaus’ legacy is more secure than the nearby Bank of Scotland branch that holds those prized, commemorative 5-pound notes with the Golden Bear’s mug on the back.
No, this was St. Andrews’s chance to give the 65-year-old Nicklaus a weeklong smooch. And Nicklaus, always the golf romantic, kissed back.