• Jack Nicklaus says Ryder Cup is 'not about winning'
• Claims far too much is made of the biennial match
• "I wish we wouldn't make such a war out of it," he said
Jack Nicklaus has said that the Ryder Cup ‘isn’t about winning’ and that it’s more of an exhibition – with the 2016 match at Hazeltine now less than two weeks away.
The 76-year-old, who played in six matches from 1969 to 1981 and captained the USA on two occasions in 1983 and 1987, says that too much is made of the biennial tournament as the USA look to end a run of three straight defeats.
"It's a goodwill event" - Jack Nicklaus
“To me, the competition is incidental,” Jack Nicklaus told USA Today. “Who wins bragging rights – and I know everyone wants to win – but that's not the important thing. The important thing is the game of golf and people having good relations and goodwill."
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"The Ryder Cup to me, we make a little bigger deal out of it than I think should be. I think it's a goodwill event. It's a great event to have bragging rights for Europe or bragging rights for America. It's a great format. It's a great competition. There's a lot of nice things about it, but I wish we wouldn’t make such a war out of it."
Of course, Nicklaus is famed for one such Ryder Cup appearance – his debut in 1969 at Royal Birkdale.
Amid a tournament that was shrouded in controversy and acrimony between players on both sides, The Golden Bear – then 29 – conceded Tony Jacklin’s final putt with the knowledge that the match would end in a 16-16 tie.
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The act of sportsmanship has forever since been known as ‘the concession’ and led to a lasting friendship between Nicklaus and Jacklin – and the American reiterated his thoughts that the Ryder Cup is nothing more than an exhibition.
“I enjoyed playing the Ryder Cup, but I couldn't tell you who I played or who I lost to, what my record was or anything else, I have no clue,” he added. “I can tell you what it is in the Masters or the US Open. That's sort of the way I looked at it.”
Jack Nicklaus’ Ryder Cup comments :: Your thoughts
What do you make of Jack Nicklaus’ comments on the Ryder Cup? Do you think too much is made of the match? Leave your thoughts below.