Notebook: A 'Golden' Day At The Amateur


Jack Nicklaus met with media members on Monday at CommonGround Golf Course after his son, Gary, completed his first round of stroke-play qualifying at the 2012 U.S. Amateur. (John Mummert/USGA)
By David Shefter, USGA
August 13, 2012

Aurora, Colo. – Karen Mills was simply in heaven.

Not only was her son, David, competing in his first U.S. Amateur, the 20-year-old Indiana University junior was grouped with Gary Nicklaus, the son of 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus.

As David played his first stroke-play round on Monday afternoon at CommonGround Golf Course – the companion course to Cherry Hills Country Club for the qualifying rounds – Karen was chatting it up with Barbara Nicklaus, Gary’s mother.

Jack and Barbara flew to Colorado to watch their son compete in his sixth Amateur, but first in 21 years. Gary played three years on the PGA Tour and, after leaving professional golf in 2003, was reinstated as an amateur in 2006. Like any parents, Barbara and Jack quietly watched as Gary posted a 1-over 71.

Everyone else, including Karen Mills, was just excited to be near one of the game’s greatest golfers. She posed for several pictures with Barbara and Jack.

“What a treat for us to be here,” said Karen Mills, who had Gary and Jack sign a pair of flags, one of which will be auctioned at a fund-raiser for an Evansville, Ind., elementary school where Karen is a first-grade teacher. Classes began this week, so Karen is playing hooky to be in Colorado.

“Barbara and Jack were absolutely delightful,” she said. “They are so down-to-earth. [Barbara] is the classiest person and funny. I just loved the day.”

David Mills, who shot 72, recognized Jack Nicklaus in the small gallery, but did his best to remain focused and not think about who was watching.

“His son is a good player and I really enjoyed it,” said Mills, a business major at IU. “I tried to put the blinders on and go.”

Barry Dyche, of Charlotte, N.C., went four shots better than Mills, shooting a 2-under 68 to lead the threesome. The 36-year-old financial advisor for Franklin Templeton has had quite a week so far at the Amateur, having played two practice rounds with Robert Mize, the son of 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize, who was caddieing for Robert. Then he had Jack Nicklaus watching from the gallery on Monday.

“Can’t do much better than that,” said Dyche of his first three days at the Amateur. “But [Jack] is a typical dad out there watching.”

Dyche, who grew up in the Florida Panhandle and played golf at Florida State, talked quite a bit with Gary, whose nephew, Nick O’Leary, is a tight end for the Seminoles and was a high school All-American. Dyche was pleased to put himself in good position for match play. The trio will play Cherry Hills on Tuesday morning.

“It’s all a bonus for me,” said Dyche, who lost in the first round of last year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur, his first USGA championship.

Other competitors and spectators gathered around Jack Nicklaus post-round as he answered a few questions from the local media.

Afterward, he signed memorabilia and posed for pictures. Reigning U.S. Junior Amateur champion Andy Hyeon Bo Shim had a group picture taken with his parents.

Shim, 17, was surprised to learn that the Junior Amateur is the only USGA championship Nicklaus competed in and never won. Nicklaus appeared five times, once reaching the semifinals. Nicklaus owns eight USGA titles (two Amateurs, four Opens and two Senior Opens).

Add Shim

Winning the U.S. Junior Amateur certainly has its perks, including exemptions into the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Amateur Public Links, if eligible. When Shim rallied from a 5-down deficit to beat 2010 champion Jim Liu last month at The Golf Club of New England, it caught the attention of Sports Illustrated.

In this week’s issue, Shim’s picture appears on the Faces in the Crowd page, a long-running SI feature.

“I got an email, but I didn’t have time to check it,” said Shim after shooting a 2-over 72 at CommonGround. “It’s definitely the biggest [magazine] I have ever appeared in.”

Honoring Ben

Monday would have been legendary golfer Ben Hogan’s 100th birthday. The four-time U.S. Open champion certainly has history at Cherry Hills. In 1960, he was in contention to win a record fifth Open when his chances ended with a double-bogey 7 at the par-5 17th hole.

The USGA has compiled a photo gallery of Hogan’s accomplishments, which include Open victories in 1948, 1950, 1951 and 1953.

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.

THE RULES OF GOLF APP
Get The Rules of Golf App For Your iPhone Or Android Today
Follow the USGA
Become a Facebook Fan of the USGAFollow us on Twitter @USGA
World Amateur Golf Ranking
WAGR Counting Event
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.


Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image