Jack Nicklaus' son Gary to make PGA TOUR Champions debut
January 23, 2019
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- January 23, 2019
- Gary will compete in the Oasis Championship in Boca Raton, Florida. David Cannon / Getty Images
BOCA RATON, Florida – Gary Nicklaus rarely makes a big deal about his birthday, but he threw a big bash last week when he turned 50.
He had reason to celebrate: He’s now eligible to play on PGA TOUR Champions. He’ll make his debut in two weeks after receiving a sponsor exemption into the Oasis Championship, February 4-10, at The Old Course at Broken Sound.
“This is something I’ve been thinking about for several years,” Gary said. “I’m thrilled to get a sponsor exemption from Oasis. I can’t wait to start competing again.”
Gary followed in the footsteps of his legendary father Jack Nicklaus by playing on the PGA TOUR. He stepped away from competing in 2003 after 122 PGA TOUR events and regained his amateur status in the summer of 2007. Soon after, Gary won the prestigious Palm Beach County Amateur, holding off a talented teenager by the name of Daniel Berger – the same Berger who has since gone on to PGA TOUR success as a two-time winner of the FedEx St. Jude Classic and a member of the 2017 Presidents Cup team.
Gary Nicklaus is eager to take advantage of the 50-and-older tour.
“I feel like my game is better than when I was on the regular tour,” said Gary, who qualified for last year’s U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach. “When you are on the tour, you’re grinding every day to keep your card, so it’s hard to work on your game.
“My game was immature. On a good day, I shot a good score. On a bad day, I shot a bad score. You need to be able to shoot a good score when you’re not playing well. When I took time off after becoming an amateur, it’s like my game matured.”
Gary was motivated to work on his game while playing with his son, GT, who memorably made a hole-in-one while caddying for his grandfather Jack in last year’s Par-3 Contest at the Masters.
“Being out with GT is great,” Gary said. “It reminds me of when I played with my dad. I’d hit it straighter and longer, and hit more greens, but when the round was over, my dad would have the lower score. GT is like, ‘Dad, why are you not playing out there?’”
Gary knows how tough the competition is on PGA TOUR Champions. But he believes he has the game and the drive to succeed.
“If I didn’t think I could compete at that level, I wouldn’t go out there,” he said. “If I play well, I should be able to win a tournament. If I find out my expectations are wrong and I’m not that good, I won’t play there long.”
Nicklaus joins John Daly, John Harris and Stuart’s Ken Duke as receiving sponsor exemptions for the Oasis Championship, the season’s first full-field event on PGA TOUR Champions.
Already committed to the Oasis Championship are defending champion Mark Calcavecchia, World Golf Hall of Famers Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie and Mark O’Meara; former major champions David Toms, Corey Pavin and Hal Sutton; Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jesper Parnevik and past Oasis champions Scott McCarron (2017), Paul Goydos (2015), Rocco Mediate (2013) and Pavin (2012).