Sunday, June 18, 2006

Nicklaus and Pecan Valley

There's an interesting side note to Tiger Woods' missing of the cut at the U.S. Open. Woods had made 39 consecutive cuts in majors since his last one missed (1996 Masters), and that streak is a record.

It's a record he shares with Jack Nicklaus - and doesn't it seem appropriate that those two share a record? Nicklaus' streak of 39 cuts made in majors ran from 1969 to 1978. And here's the side note: Nicklaus' streak began after he missed the cut in the 1968 PGA Championship, played at Pecan Valley in San Antonio. (This nugget courtesy of Oliver's Twist.)

Visitors to Pecan Valley today will find photos on the walls taken during that '68 PGA (and during some of the other high-profile events the course has hosted over the years). There's an urban legend involving Nicklaus and Pecan Valley, however.

I've heard this legend told many times, including many times before I ever played Pecan Valley. It goes like this: "Jack Nicklaus missed the cut at the 1968 PGA Championship at Pecan Valley," the tale begins,"and he vowed never to play in Texas again ... and he never did."

The first part (missing the cut) is true. The status of the middle part (vowing never to play in Texas again) is undetermined, although it doesn't sound like something Nicklaus would say). The third part ("and he never did") is most definitely untrue - Nicklaus played in the Colonial and Byron Nelson numerous times after 1968. Nicklaus won the Nelson in 1970 and '71, and won Colonial in 1982.

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