• "It was just a very special place to me," said the 75-year-old
• Also claims he underachieved throughout his playing career
Eighteen-time major champion Jack Nicklaus has spoken of his love for St Andrews and called the town ‘one of the most gorgeous places in the world’.
The 75-year-old brought the curtain down on his playing career on the links of the Old Course back in 2005 – where he won two of his three Open Championship titles – and said that there was no other place he would’ve wanted to end it.
“I enjoyed playing there because it was the home of golf,” Jack Nicklaus said ahead of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village. “It’s where it all basically started and it’s why I chose to end my career there. It was just a very special place to me.
"This grey old town turns out to be one of the most gorgeous places in the world" - Jack Nicklaus
“If you look at St Andrews, it’s a very grey town with nothing really attractive just looking at it. Then, all of a sudden you put a green field beside it, you start bringing people into the town, they start playing golf and all of a sudden this grey old town turns out to be one of the most gorgeous places in the world.”
Bowing out at St Andrews signalled the end of a career which is unmatched in terms of major championships, with Tiger Woods the Golden Bear’s nearest rival with 14. But he insisted he maybe didn’t totally fulfill his potential and remarked that his career was just ‘good’.
“I think I underachieved all my life,” Jack Nicklaus said. “I think that’s why I got better because if you feel you’re overachieving or getting more out of what you should get then you stop working.
“I always felt like I never really achieved what I should’ve achieved, but my career was a good career. I certainly wouldn’t trade it.
“I’ve got five kids, 22 grandkids and I’ve got a great relationship with them all. I wouldn’t trade that for the world and that to me is far more important. Could my record have been better? Yeah. But my family would not be what I think we enjoy today.”
Ahead of the Memorial Tournament, and event he hosts, Nicklaus also praised Rory McIlroy for the manner in which the world No.1 said he wouldn’t be able to make it.
The four-time major champion had played for five consecutive weeks, which concluded last week at the Irish Open, and he penned a letter to Nicklaus to inform him that he wouldn’t be attending, as he needed to have a break before the US Open.
“Rory said he was really in a pickle,” Jack Nicklaus explained. “But I said, Rory, don’t worry about. You and I are very close, we have no issues. I said if you have stuff to do in Ireland, you’ve got to do what’s right for you.
“You’ve got to get yourself ready for the US Open and that’s fine with me. And I think from the way I handled it, I don’t think you’ll see Rory miss here very often.”
Jack Nicklaus :: Underachieved?
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