By Donald Heath
Courtesy of SavannahNow.com
The Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf tournament opens with one of the sport’s greatest names, Jack Nicklaus, teeing off with partner Gary Player at 11:10 a.m. on Monday.
The action takes place at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa on Hutchinson Island. Admission for Demaret Division play is free.
Nicklaus and Player are teaming to form one of 22 teams in the division for golfers ages 70 and over.
The Demaret Division, a 36-hole, better-ball competition, is one of three tournaments taking place during the week of the Legends.
The Raphael Division runs Friday and Saturday, and the Legends Division runs from Friday to Sunday.
Teams in the Demaret Division will play an 18-hole round Monday and conclude the tournament with another round Tuesday.
The winning team’s players pocket $60,000 apiece.
Nicklaus, 73, will be competing for the first time in Savannah. The Golden Bear won 18 major tournaments during his career on the PGA Tour, including a memorable charge at the Masters in 1986 at the age of 46. He also had 19 second-place finishes in majors.
During his professional career, Nicklaus had 73 PGA Tour wins, 10 Champions Tour victories and 22 others to total 115.
“To have Jack here is a gigantic coup,” said Mark Williams, director of communications for the Champions Tour told the Savannah Morning News recently. “It might be the one and only opportunity for the folks in Savannah to come and see two of the living legends of the game compete. You can see them, but to see them compete is fun, and trust me, they will compete.
“If somebody has to take a day off from work to do that, it’s something they will remember forever.”
Nicklaus’ partner is hardly a slouch. Player, nicknamed the Black Knight, had nine major championships and 165 professional wins during his career.
Playing in the Nicklaus-Player foursome is the team of Mike Hill and Lee Trevino.
Nicklaus, Player and Trevino are members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Three others in the Demaret Division — Gene Littler, Doug Ford and Billy Casper — are also members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
By Donald Heath