Jack Nicklaus is arguably the greatest golfer that ever lived. If you believe in Major Championships as a gauge of greatness, he’s the best. When Jack talks golf, people listen. On Sunday morning during the Honda Classic’s rain delay, Nicklaus weighed in on why he believes less golfers seem to suffer from the “yips” in this generation. For those of you who are not golf fans, the “yips” refers to the act of missing short putts, typically as a result of nerves.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, please,” Nicklaus said according to the Golf Channel. “In those days, most of those guys were club pros. Their usual thing was, after a round, to come in and have a drink and socialize. They did that when they played tournaments.
“I always felt drinking did not do well with nerves. The guys today don’t do that. I never did that. Did I have a drink? Sure, here and there, but never while I was playing in tournaments. I always thought that was terrible for your nerves, and terrible for your touch, because I think the most important thing is to be totally there. I don’t think guys did it because they were nervous, it was just their way of life. It was a social way of life, and golf was a social sport. Guys take the game today as more athletes, and I took it that way. I’m not saying these guys were drinkers, but it was part of their life. It’s not part of the culture today.”
Some, like Tiger Woods, argue that the belly putter gives people an unfair advantage and more putter control. Those people might claim the improved equipment in today’s game has led to more consistent putting. Personally, I like Nicklaus’ theory a lot better. Remember that the next time you’re 10 beers deep on the 17th hole and furious that you can’t seem to hit a two-foot putt.
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