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The Open Championship 1998 Home Page
 

Open News (posted 8th July 1998)

Nicklaus pulls out of the Open

Southport, England  - Jack Nicklaus said on Wednesday he had withdrawn from the Open Championship which starts at Royal Birkdale next Thursday because of hip problems.

It is the first major he will have missed since the 1961 US PGA championship.

The 58-year-old has played in every Open Championship since his debut at Troon in 1962, but despite his brilliant sixth place finish at the Masters in April and making the halfway cut in last month's US Open he warned that his troublesome hip and a recent groin strain could rule him out of a 37th successive Open and 155th major.

The American has been suffering with hip joint and cartilage degeneration for some time.

In April he was honoured for 40 years at The Masters.

"If it is my last Masters - and it could be - then I've certainly had a pretty good one to finish up.

"I'd love to play until I was 100, Lord willing. But I think there's a reasonable amount of time. I'm having an awful hard time walking. I get about 14 or 15 holes and my hip's about had it.

"I've got less than a millimetre of cartilage. You're supposed to have four.

As long as I'm doing exercises I'm pretty good, but how long that will last I don't know."

He has always said he does not want to become purely a "ceremonial" golfer - there for what he has done in the past rather than what he is capable of doing now.

"I think I've had a wonderful run in the game of golf," he commented. "I'm going to continue playing, but the level that I play on will probably take shape over the next few months.

"Every day becomes a little more special because I don't know how much more I can play and be competitive. Competition for me is not walking down the 18th hole at noon on Sunday - it's doing it at six o'clock.

"I think that whatever happens the year 2000 will probably be my last year of doing any of it. I'm going to try to play at St Andrews then."

He will still be in England next week - he plays an exhibition match with Ian Woosnam on Monday as part of the opening of the Carden Park course near Chester which he designed with his son Steve.

It was also announced today that Spaniard Miguel Angel Martin and  American Michael Bradley have scratched from the Open.

Martin, the man controversially axed from Europe's Ryder Cup side last year for refusing to undergo a fitness test, has suffered more problems with his wrist in recent weeks. His last appearance on the European tour was his runners-up finish in Majorca in early May.

Bradley, one of the elite band of golfers to score 63 in a major championship (he did it at the 1995 US PGA), gave no reason for his withdrawal.


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