The Cup that Jack Built

The merits of the Presidents Cup, whether it is a viable event or not, has been the topic of lively debate over the past week.

While most observers wish to see it zapped from the international calendar, or at least modified so that it becomes part of a global inter-continental set-up, there is at least one person for whom the tournament means a lot … Jack Nicklaus.

The Golden Bear had tears in his eyes as America won the 2007 Presidents Cup with a convincing victory over the International Team.

And if Jack takes this event seriously, are we even allowed to put it down?

The tears were for America’s victory and the fact that it may be the 67-year-old’s last as captain. The US players lined up to pay tribute to Nicklaus as the father-figure of the team, many of them agreeing to play simply because of his presence.

Scott Verplank, one of the heroes of America’s 19 ½ to 14 ½ triumph, said on the PGA Tour website:

“He was my idol growing up. I still have his autograph from when I was a kid that reads, ‘To Scott,’ and all that. I couldn’t draw it up any better than playing for Jack Nicklaus.”

Tiger Woods, who seems to be reduced to human when playing in a team environment, is the contemporary player mostly closely linked with Nicklaus. After all, Woods appears to be closing in on Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles.

However, Woods was merely a team member in Montreal over the weekend as Nicklaus cast his giant shadow over the whole show.

“We’ve had some great years together since ’98. I’ve always loved playing for Jack, and, hopefully, he’ll come back. He’s the greatest player of all time, and to have him as your captain, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

One of the best quotes came from Stewart Cink, for whom the honour of playing for Nicklaus appears to be the driving force behind the team’s will to succeed. Cink said:

“To say you played for Jack Nicklaus … they can’t take that away from you. He says something to you, and you listen. It’s special. And you find yourself thinking you’ll do anything to win for him because of what he means.”

Nicklaus was supposed to quit as captain after the previous Presidents Cup, and this year is considered to be his swansong.

However, with such endearing support from his players and his heart tied to the tournament, Nicklaus has not ruled out a return.

“If they think that they need me, and I think I can help them, then, sure, I’m going to be there. Do I still feel like it’s somebody else’s turn? Sure I do. But would I say no if they came to me again? Of course not. Because that would mean that they want me around, and that turning them down would be sort of a slap in the face.”

Maybe one day the Presidents Cup will be scrapped, and few tears will be shed. But as long as Jack is around, they’ll be crying for more.

One Response to “The Cup that Jack Built”

  1. Maine Duffer...but getting better says:

    I LOVED watching the President’s Cup; the coverage was great and there was a lot to learn about golf, watching the pre- and post- shot setups and listening the expert commentary.

    What is it, Andy, that you don’t like about it?

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