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Justin Thomas

‘Oops!’ Why Nicklaus had to apologise to JT

Jack Nicklaus had what he called an 'oops moment' when he texted Justin Thomas during the Workday Charity Open
 

Jack Nicklaus wasn’t at Muirfield Village for the Workday Charity Open. Instead he watched from his home in Florida, with the intention of flying up to Ohio on Sunday to congratulate the winner.

But that opportunity was missed due to tee times being moved forward with the threat of inclement weather looming.

Before they boarded their flight, Nicklaus and wife Barbara watched Justin Thomas hole a ridiculous 50-footer for birdie at the first extra hole.

With opponent Collin Morikawa needing to hole a 24-foot downhill putt of his own, Nicklaus came to his own conclusions.

Speaking ahead of this week’s Memorial Tournament, the second of a two-week run at Jack’s place, the 18-time major champion said: “Barbara and I both texted Justin and said to him, ‘Wow, what a fantastic putt, unbelievable fantastic super putt, can’t believe that you made that putt. Now you’ve got the chance to win two in a row.’

“And then we got up in the air, and we picked up WiFi after 10,000 feet, and we found out Morikawa won the tournament.

“I had to send him another text and say, ‘Oops, a little premature.’

“He was good. He texted back and said, ‘All good, it’s OK.'”

At least Nicklaus won’t make the same mistake this week. The 18-time major champion will be at Muirfield Village for the entirety of the tournament he’s hosted since 1976.

And with Covid-19 regulations in place, there is one tradition that may have to end – Jack’s handshake with the victor.

“I’m going to walk right out there and shake their hand,” he explained. “If they don’t want to shake my hand, that’s fine, I’ll give them a fist bump or an elbow bump, but I’m not going to give them Covid-19. I wouldn’t put anybody in that position, and if I was in any danger of doing that I wouldn’t shake their hands.

“Incidentally, I like shaking their hand. I think that’s a great tradition, but it is as much fun for me as I hope it is for them.”

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Alex Perry

Alex Perry

Alex has been the editor of National Club Golfer since 2017. A Devonian who enjoys wittering on about his south west roots, Alex moved north to join NCG after more than a decade in London, the last five of which were with ESPN. Away from golf, Alex follows Torquay United and spends too much time playing his PlayStation or his guitar and not enough time practising his short game.

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