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Nicklaus offers advice to young golfers

Along with his record 18 professional majors and a PGA Tour career that spanned four decades, perhaps one of the most remarkable tributes to the consistent greatness of Jack Nicklaus was that he only withdrew from two tournaments.

One of them was the Philadelphia Golf Classic in 1970. The other was the 1983 Masters.

Nicklaus doesn't consider himself lucky, just well-rounded - not his shape, but his interest in other sports.

Even when he was at Ohio State, Nicklaus said he would put the clubs away after the golf season and play intramural football, basketball and volleyball. As a teenager, he played sports in every season.

"I think I was developed to play other things and do other things, and golf didn't beat me down to one thing. I just didn't wear out," Nicklaus said during his recent visit to the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Hardly anyone lifted weights if they were serious about golf when Nicklaus was growing up, but so much about this sport has changed. Nick Faldo and Greg Norman were fanatical about fitness, then Tiger Woods and a host of others have taken that to a new level.

"It's a different day," he said.

What concerns Nicklaus are kids who are steered toward golf and spend their time doing little else.

"You see kids specialize in golf. I think that is idiotic," he said. "To play all the sports is great. I played everything. My dad played everything. Golf to me was just another sport until I was about 19. When I won the National Amateur at 19, I finally said, 'Hmm, I must be a little better than I think I am.' It was just a game - still is a game."

His advice to young golfers?

"I think kids should be playing everything, doing everything," he said. "Eventually, if you want to specialize in something, that's fine. But go out and enjoy, and be happy to be able to play other things."

EVE N. PAR: The LPGA Tour rolled out a playful statistic this year, keeping track of how much a player would have earned by finishing at even par (Eve N. Par) in all official events.

Eve N. Par would have finished with $605,121 to finish at No. 24 on the LPGA money list.

Apply that to the PGA Tour, and the statistics get skewed, for Eve N. Par would have won the Masters and the U.S. Open. Total earnings would have been $4,650,492 to finish at No. 5 on the PGA Tour money list, playing in 43 tournaments.

Throw out the majors and replace them with opposite-field events (when applicable), and the total would have been $1,780,875 to finish 48th on the money list.

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