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Golf News: - Posted 3rd February 1998

Golden Bear eyes major streak

Sydney, Australia - Golf legend Jack Nicklaus has rubbished claims that his record streak of 144 consecutive appearances in the four major championships will definitely end after he plays in the US Masters.

Last month it was reported that the US Golf Association (USGA) had decided against awarding the 58-year-old Nicklaus an exemption at the US Open, which means his streak would stop at 145 when he tees off in the Masters at Augusta in April.

However Nicklaus, after arriving in Sydney on Tuesday to play in the Greg Norman International on Thursday, said the USGA had yet to inform him.

Nicklaus said after hearing the report he phoned the USGA and was told no decision had been made.

"Now it makes my schedule uncertain," Nicklaus said.

"I don't know what I am going to do.

"If I happen to get invited to the US Open then I'll play all the majors again.

"If I don't then I'm going to stop at the Masters.

"I don't want to make an issue out of it one way or other.

"If they think I can add to the tournament and be competitive I'll be delighted to play but if they don't I understand and have no problem with that."

Nicklaus said the USGA had changed the rule for exemptions and reserved the right to grant them right up until the regional qualifying.

If the winner of a record 18 majors shows he is playing well after a lengthy lay-off late last year to rest a hip injury, he could be invited back to the US Open in June.

"I don't expect to play how I used to ... but I can still play at a level good enough to win and I really think that or else I wouldn't play at all," he said.

"But do I think I can win very often? No. Do I think I can find lightning in the bottle every once in a while? Yes, I think I can."

AFP