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Golf legend Jack Nicklaus stays busy at PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus stays busy at PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament

DUBLIN, Ohio — Jack Nicklaus will have had plenty of practice shaking hands by the time he congratulates the winner of the Memorial Tournament Sunday at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

I stopped counting at 150, but it’s safe to say Upper Arlington’s most famous Golden Bear shook well over 200 paws Wednesday as he moved along the 220 acres of golf course on his way to meet-and-greets, photo shoots, autograph signings, ceremonies, lunch, board meetings and dinner.

And he didn’t drop from exhaustion. That may be more impressive than him winning the 1986 Masters.

“I think he gets very primed for this event,” 2019 Memorial honoree Judy Rankin said. “And it means so much to him, he just decides he can be tired later.”

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Nicklaus is 84 but has more energy than a man in his 60s. I should know. I shadowed him from early morning through late afternoon Wednesday – “A day in the life of Jack Nicklaus at the Memorial” if you will – and I needed a nap by the time we parted company. Jack needed no such thing. He is like the Man of Steel, except Superman never smacked a 1-iron like Nicklaus could in his prime.

That prime is past, but the legacy lives on:

Nicklaus as golf’s greatest champion, winner of a record 18 major championships.

Nicklaus as Memorial Tournament visionary, founder and host.

Nicklaus as a humanitarian, raising millions for children’s hospitals and charities.

Nicklaus as needler, applying a well-placed elbow of sarcasm into the ribs of those he likes.

Jack Nicklaus, Papa Bear, is comfortable around the cubs

The day began with Nicklaus and wife Barbara, or the First Lady of Golf as she is known in these parts, arriving at the practice putting green to shake hands and pose for pictures with officials, parents and kids involved in the Play Yellow initiative, a program in which the Nicklauses, PGA Tour and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals join forces to raise money for kids at local children’s hospitals.

Jack Nicklaus sits with kids in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Golden Cub program during a practice day for the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

Nicklaus listens to Jimmy Smith, whose 16-year-old daughter Madison died of colorectal cancer in October.

“The heartache just doesn’t go away, but things like this help,” said Smith, who arrived at Muirfield from Rockville, Maryland, as a guest of PGA Tour player and…


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