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Nicklaus Has Reason to Like Skins Game

Associated Press

Jack Nicklaus said he remains enthusiastic about playing competitive golf despite having become one of the busiest golf course designers in the world.

“I love to play golf and I like to design courses, but playing competitive (tournament) golf is still my top priority,” Nicklaus said Thursday at the Bear Creek golf club here.

Nicklaus, 45, was promoting the 1985 Skins Game that will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at the 7,024-yard, par-72 Bear Creek, one of 59 courses he has designed around the world.

The 1985 Skins game, a $450,000 event geared for television, will feature an elite foursome of golfers--Nicklaus, the defending champion, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and and Fuzzy Zoeller.

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The two-day event will see the first nine holes played Saturday and the final nine completed on Sunday, with both days of play televised nationally by NBC-TV.

The foursome will play for a designated amount of money on each hole--$15,000 per hole for the first six holes, $25,000 for the next six and $35,000 for the last six. If no player wins a hole outright, the prize money will be carried over to the next hole.

Last year, after the second day’s first eight holes were tied at the Desert Highlands course in Scottsdale Arizona, Nicklaus sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the last hole and won $240,000.

“Even old unemotional Jack got excited,” a smiling Nicklaus said. “I threw my putter high in the air because . . . well, it was exciting.”

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This is how Nicklaus analyzed his opponents: “Arnold is the only guy that’s been around longer than I have, but he’s still very competitive and dangerous. Tom is always tough; he’s out to beat our ears off. The new kid, Fuzzy, will make things looser out there. Fuzzy may get all of the skins or none of them, but he’ll still be smiling.


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