Wednesday, April 02, 2008

(AP) — Jack Nicklaus will return to The Players Championship, this time to be honored with the PGA Tour's Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the eighth person to receive the award for outstanding contributions to the tour.

Where to start with Nicklaus?

Along with his 73 victories and benchmark 18 majors, Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer essentially created the PGA Tour in 1969 when they encouraged a tournament division of the PGA of America. He runs his own PGA event at the Memorial, and stayed involved in the tour as Presidents Cup captain four times.

Seven tournaments this year are being played on courses he designs, including Q-school and the Target World Challenge.

"Since first picking up a club at age 10, I have loved the game of golf," Nicklaus said. "And whether it is being fortunate to serve as captain of The Presidents Cup, or being active in golf course design in emerging markets all over the world, or lending a hand to the growth of The First Tee and other junior golf programs, I enjoy staying connected to the game.

"More importantly, I enjoy finding ways to give back to the game that has given my family and me so much."

PEACEFUL AUGUSTA: Adam Scott might love going to Augusta National more than the Masters.

Scott joined swing coach Butch Harmon, Fred Couples and Nick Watney for a day of practice two weeks ago, and he has never seen Augusta National more glorious. They stayed Sunday night in one of the cabins and had breakfast in the clubhouse.

"I thought we were staying in the Motel 6 down the road for a night," Scott said. "Stephens Cabin treated me well. And the best thing about it was Freddie stayed in the cabin with me. They were taking our bags in and said, 'Here's your room, Mr. Couples. I'll just put the bags in here. The green jacket is in the closet for you.'"

Couples, who won the Masters in 1992, can only wear his green jacket on the property.

Scott will never forget the first time he saw Augusta National, stunned at how open it was without fairways framed by thousands of people. There is an empty triangle between the eighth, ninth and 18th fairways.

"It's completely different. It's beautiful when it's empty," he said. "I was walking from the cabin at 7:30 a.m. to the clubhouse to have breakfast, and it was so peaceful. It's a beautiful place. I can't imagine what it's like to have that opportunity once in a while."

DIVOTS: Lucas Glover is the only player from the Presidents Cup team in September who did not qualify for the Masters. ... Billy Mayfair will be making his 600th career start this week at the Shell Houston Open. ... Annika Sorenstam is steadily regaining her consistency. Along with a victory in Hawaii, the former No. 1 player is the only LPGA player to have broken par in all 14 rounds this year.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Ten players have won the last 10 majors on the LPGA Tour.

FINAL WORD: "Guys aren't going to shoot 30 on the back nine. You can't reach all the greens in 30." - Scott Verplank on how much tougher the Masters has become with a longer course.

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