The Bear has come out of Hibernation
“Oops, I did it again!” – the lyrics of Britney Spears sure suited the golf game of Jack Nicklaus, once again, as they had so many times during the career of golf’s greatest golfer.
The last time these same words rang out loud was, in 1986, when according to one CBS golf commentator, “The Bear Has Come Out of Hibernation,” signaling the resurgence of Jack Nicklaus when he scored eagle around Amen Corner before birdieing holes 16 and 17 and two-putting 18 to win the Masters Tournament at Augusta National, shooting 30 on the final nine holes to finish ahead of buddy and fellow deep sea fisherman Greg Norman.
Well, Oops, Jack has done it again! With the Celebrity Shootout at the Champions’ Tour Ally Challenge, played at Warwick Hills, in Michigan, finishing in a tie, Jack Nicklaus and partner, Kid Rock, faced a chip-off to determine the winner, against singer Dierks Bentley and hockey star Henrik Zetterberg.
Well, with all other missing, from around fifty feet, Jack hit the perfect chip, lofted over the fringe onto the green, then rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling…right into the center of the cup, to signal Jack’s official coming out of hibernation party, the gallery roaring as it did in years past, again and again.
Back in the winner’s circle was Jack, who once rated himself a 4 out of 10 in the shot-making department of chipping, but after visiting short game ace Phil Rogers for lessons, decades ago, improved greatly.
Now, just in time to be featured in my new book, Enjoy Golf! Jack played the ball back near his right foot in a narrow stance, hands ahead, weak grip, choking down on the handle of a wedge, open stance, elbows-out Leo Diegel style, right wrist hinging on backswing, right wrist straightening on the downswing, club snaps back into base of ball, popping it into the air, sending it over the fringe onto the green, rolling like a putt – 0ops Jack did it again! Yes!
Happy as if he’d just won another green jacket, there was Jack, all smiles, doing what is the secret to golf – – enjoying oneself, and thanking God you are able to play golf. I like to think with Arnie looking down, laughing to himself, and thinking, “Oops, Jack, you’ve done it again!”