U.S. AMATEUR
Despite Missing Cut, Gary Nicklaus Has Week to Remember August 14, 2018 | PEBBLE BEACH, CALIF. By Dave Shedloski

Gary (left) and Jack Nicklaus share a post-round moment following Gary's round at Pebble Beach Golf Links. (USGA/Chris Keane)

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Gary Nicklaus got a chance to take a walk – a deeply nostalgic walk – on Tuesday at Pebble Beach Golf Links. It was a walk no one in the world, save for one of his siblings, could take. It was a walk in the footsteps of his father.

Jack Nicklaus won the 1961 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach, and all these years later here was the third of his four sons competing in the same championship on the same course. The younger Nicklaus was too busy grinding to try to somehow qualify for match play to think about the significance of the day, but after signing for a 6-over 77, he had a chance to appreciate the opportunity.

“How would I sum up my week? There is no better place to play golf than Pebble Beach,” Nicklaus, 49, said with a wry smile after completing two rounds in 14-over-par 157. “The weather is fantastic. The golf course is amazing. It wasn‘t my week to play. I hit a lot of good shots. The putter wasn’t good to me. Besides that, it was great being here.”

Both his father and mother, Barbara, watched every shot at Spyglass Hill Monday and Pebble Beach on Tuesday. What they witnessed was a high level of proficiency tee to green and a putter colder than an angry cat.

“Gary actually hit the ball pretty well,” Jack said. “He missed a few fairways, two on each course. I wouldn’t tell him to change anything. I know he’s disappointed because I know he would have liked to have made match play, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Still, the reinstated amateur from Jupiter, Fla., was grateful for what was a special few days on the Monterey Peninsula. Yes, it was meaningful. Not only did his dad win the U.S. Amateur here, but he also claimed one of his four U.S. Open titles at Pebble Beach in 1972.

“It would mean a lot more if I won one, too,” he joked about the experience. “Obviously, I love coming here. Pebble Beach has a lot of history in my family. If there is ever a place where you would want to win a tournament, a major championship, anything … it’s here. It’s the best place there is to play.”

Dad wouldn’t disagree.

Dave Shedloski is an Ohio-based freelance writer who frequently contributes to USGA digital channels.

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