October 2 2013
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Jack Nicklaus is scheduled to drop the ceremonial first puck on Friday night when the Columbus Blue Jackets open their 2013-14 season at home against the Calgary Flames.
It will be the first time Nicklaus has ever done such a thing.
"I need to broaden my horizons," he joked.
With The Presidents Cup in town this week at Nicklaus' Muirfield Village, the connection with the start of the local NHL team's season seems a logical one. So Nicklaus was asked last month if he would like to drop the puck.
"I don't understand, first of all," Nicklaus said about his exact duties. "I've never seen a puck dropped. I've never heard the phrase until about two weeks ago.
"I don't know how far you drop it from. I don't know what you're supposed to hit and who you're not supposed to hurt. So I'll find out on Friday night."
Although Nicklaus used to own Florida Panthers season tickets for several years, he only went to one game. That was during the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals when the Panthers played the Colorado Avalanche. Nicklaus and his wife Barbara attended the game as the guest of then-Panthers owner Wayne Huizenga.
Their seats were right behind the glass. If you've ever been to a hockey game, you know how unnerving that can be for a first-time attendee.
"Every time the puck hit the glass, Barbara was jumping back about 10 feet," Nicklaus said. "It was a very interesting experience and enjoyable and we had a great time. I have not been to a hockey game since, so we are going to go to a hockey game Friday night."