Every SI Story ... Every SI Photo ... Ever SI.COM/VAULT
EXCERPT | March 27, 1978
Jack Roars Back
At Sawgrass, Jack Nicklaus finished a remarkable run
Jack Nicklaus had won a total of just five tournaments in 1976 and '77, none of them major championships. But with a hot start in '78 the Golden Bear once again was the player to watch. Dan Jenkins reported for SI.
It was that same Sawgrass music again. Dueling bogeys. And it was the same Jack Nicklaus again. There has never been anything quite so spectacular in the world of professional golf as what Jack has been up to lately. Not since the gutta met the percha, anyway. If you wanted to look for a pattern to it last week at Sawgrass, you had to start out by taking A1A to the first swamp on your left, then chartering a canoe and asking to be dropped off at the factory where they make grits out of lost Titleists.
The big news from Sawgrass and the Tournament Players Championship was that Nicklaus won another title without making birdies or eagles out of everything but the loose change in his pockets. At Sawgrass, which is just down the coast from Jacksonville, a man is lucky even to make pars, and Jack made enough of those in Sunday's final round to shoot a 75 and beat Lou Graham and all those other guys who were charging after him with their backup lights on.
Nicklaus's one-shot triumph concluded a fascinating stretch of golf over a period that he has for some time considered his "Masters preparation." In Jack's past four tournaments he has finished second, first, second and first, in that order. Nicklaus now will fish, rest and work on his game this week in the Dominican Republic, and then spend all next week practicing at Augusta for the following week's Masters.
Nicklaus finished seventh at Augusta but won the British Open at St. Andrews in July. In December, SI honored him as Sportsman of the Year.
SI.COM | Breaking News | Real-time Scores | Daily Analysis
Player of The Year?
Andy Staples assesses John Wall's ability to make his teammates better
John Wall, because of his preternatural ability to slice into the lane and make a defense implode, is better than anyone else at making it easy for his team to put the ball in the basket.
Stewart Mandel dissects Evan Turner's superior all-around game
Evan Turner deserves it because he's the most complete player in the country, the most valuable to his team and the most productive all-around guard the sport has seen in years.
INSIDE REPORT ON VIDEO
Get the latest analysis and insight from SI writers every day in the new Inside Report hosted by SI.com's Maggie Gray. Also check out some 60 original videos a week, including NHL and college basketball highlights, interviews from The Dan Patrick Show, spring training reports from Tom Verducci and a breakdown of the NCAA tournament from Seth Davis.
The Dan Patrick Show
Mosley on Mayweather
Online Cover Gallery
Loaded for Bear
Arnold Palmer renewed his rivalry with the 22-year-old Nicklaus with a Masters victory. After losing to the PGA Tour rookie in a playoff at the U.S. Open, Palmer won the British Open.
Lee Trevino beat Nicklaus in an 18-hole playoff at Merion to win the U.S. Open. Three weeks later Trevino won the British Open and was named SI's Sportsman of the Year.
Tom Watson, who had outdueled Nicklaus to win both the Masters and the British Open in 1977, bested his rival by two strokes at Augusta to win his fifth major championship.
WALTER IOOSS JR.
Photograph by TONY TRIOLO
A GRITTY WIN Nicklaus sealed his victory on the swampy, scrubby Sawgrass course by shooting two over par for the last seven holes.
GREG NELSON (WALL)
ANDREW HANCOCK (TURNER)
AP PHOTO/MARK J. TERRILL (MOSLEY)
MITCHELL LAYTON/NHLI/GETTY IMAGES (NHL)
HEINZ KLUETMEIER (PATRICK)