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Nicklaus blames Woosnam for clubs error

Jack Nicklaus thinks Ian Woosnam should have avoided a two-stroke penalty for carrying an extra club at the Open by checking his back more carefully.

Nicklaus said the final responsibility for the number of clubs belongs to the player himself.

''I don't fault Woosie. I have great sympathy for Ian and great sympathy for his caddy. It's just one of the things that happen. It happens, there is nothing you can do about it,'' Nicklaus said today at Royal County Down, where he'll play in the Senior British Open.

''But ultimately it's the player's responsibility. He's the one who takes the blame. Nobody else.''

In the final round of the British Open on Sunday, Woosnam discovered after a birdie at No. 1 that he had played the hole with 15 clubs in his bag, one more than the rules allow.

He was informed by caddie Miles Byrne on the second tee and immediately declared the infraction, which carries a two-stroke penalty. Woosnam birdied two of the next three holes and wound up tied for third place, four strokes behind winner David Duval.

''You are a team,'' Nicklaus said. ''But it's my responsibility and it's Ian's responsibility.

''I count the clubs in my bag everyday by habit. It's a habit I got into.''


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