Originally created 03/10/99

Martin to Nicklaus: Swallow pride and ride



Jack Nicklaus was one of several golfers who spoke out against the court ruling that allowed Casey Martin to use a cart on the PGA Tour and the U.S. Open.

Now that he has had hip replacement surgery, the 60-year-old Nicklaus says he might consider using one on the Senior Tour during the early stages of his return.

"I have never taken a cart on the Senior Tour," he said. "If I had to use it ... that's the rules of that game. Do I want to take a cart? No. I much prefer to walk."

Should he be able to play in his own Memorial Tournament (doubtful), the U.S. Open (improbable) or the Senior Open (unlikely), Nicklaus would not be able to use a cart and wouldn't ask for one.

"But the Senior Tour is the Senior Tour -- it's not the walking tour," Nicklaus said. "It's the walking wounded, that's what it is."

Martin found the situation was "pretty ironic."

"However, I hope he uses one," Martin told CBS Sportsline. "I would feel really bad if the best player of all time didn't play because he testified against me. Swallow your pride and ride."

Martin has a rare circulatory disease in his right leg, making it nearly impossible for him to walk 18 holes. Martin said a cart would not give Nicklaus an unfair advantage. What it might give him, he said, is a new perspective.

"I just want him to play," Martin said. "in the back of my mind, I'm chuckling."

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[bf]NORMAN'S REGRETS: Greg Norman has not seen the changes to Augusta National Golf Club, but chances are he won't like them. If Norman had his way, the world's renowned courses should remain the same as long as championship golf is played there.

[nf] "I don't like to see that because I like to step up on the tee and say Gene Sarazen did this or Byron Nelson did this, and feel the same piece of nostalgia and history," Norman said. "When you change it, you change all that."

Not that Norman is not surprised. Even the Blue Monster, where he won the Doral Open three times, took on a new look under the redesign of Raymond Floyd, and Norman says the great courses in Melbourne are always going through some kind of change.

"It just blows my mind," he said. "I don't like to see that stuff happen."

Jack Nicklaus, who recently built a new fifth hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links (the way it originally was routed), agrees that players lose a slight sense of history when a course is significantly altered.

"The only trouble is, you have to use the same equipment for it to be the same thing," Nicklaus said. "If they could take the equipment and allow us to hit a golf ball only so far, then I think they shouldn't change a thing. But if you look at the course (Augusta) that I shot 64 on in 1965 ... it's not the same golf course."

PLAYER 2000: Forget the nine major championships, the career grand slam or his streak of 42 consecutive British Opens. Gary Player is obsessed with winning in the next millennium, which he believes would be one of the greatest accomplishments of his career.

Player wants to become the first to win a tour-sanctioned event in six decades.

"That's the only ambition I have in golf and it's a very tall order," Player said. "If I can do that, it would a record that might never be broken, because you've got to live that long, you've got to have nerves, and you've got to be pretty damn lucky."

Player turned professional in 1953 and won his first British Open in 1959. He became the third player to win the career Grand Slam at age 29 with the 1965 U.S. Open and won the last of his nine majors in the 1978 Masters.

Along with 14 Senior victories in the 1980s, he won the Chile Open at age 54. He has won five Senior events in the '90s, including the Long Island Classic last year at age 62.

Sam Snead won in five decades -- his first PGA event in 1936, his last Senior event in 1973. Snead won the Golf Digest Commemorative Pro-Am in 1980, but that wasn't an official Senior event.

"I'm pretty obsessed about this," Player said. "To win in six decades would give me great pleasure. It would be the result of hard work and looking after your body. I'm going to give it a go."

DUNLAP REWARD:Scott Dunlap won $135,300 for his tied for third in the Doral-Ryder Open, almost as much as he has won in his last two years combined. The real reward could come in November in the Stroke Play Championship.

What will Dunlap, a 35-year-old graduate of Q-school, be doing in Spain?

Since he couldn't get into several West Coast events, he decided to play in South Africa during the winter. Dunlap won the Dimension Data and finished second in the South African Open, which was enough to finish second on that tour's money list.

And that's enough to qualify for the $5 million tournament at Valderrama, the third of the World Golf Championship events.

"That'll work," Dunlap said. "Hopefully, that week won't mean anything in terms of playing privileges. But if it does, it's nice to have it there."

DIVOTS: Fred Couples withdrew from the Honda Classic after hurting his back doing a household chore. ... Tiger Woods has a new California crib -- a townhouse in Manhattan Beach worth just under $1 million. The townhouse has three bedrooms and 3 baths in 2,200 square feet, along with what was described as an "unblockable ocean view" one block from the beach. ...The Skins Game is moving from again, although it will stay in the Palm Springs area for the 14th straight year. Landmark Golf Club outside Palm Springs will be the sixth course for the Skins Game since it began in 1983.

STAT OF THE WEEK:The field in the Doral-Ryder Open had as many Q-school graduates (34) as players ranked in the top 100.

FINAL WORD: "I wish I had her on the Presidents Cup team." -- Peter Thomson, after Karrie Webb set the LPGA scoring record of 26-under-par in the Australian Masters.