NOTE: On February 28, 1971: Jack Nicklaus won the PGA Championship by beating Billy Casper by three strokes. The event was held at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, site of the 2011 Honda Classic. Interestingly, this PGA was played in February versus its usual August slot in the major championship calendar. His victory, combined with wins at the 1972 Masters and '72 US Open, allowed Nicklaus to hold three of the majors' trophies at one time. This win also made the Golden Bear the first to twice conquer the career Grand Slam of the Masters, US Open, British Open and PGA.
How odd did it seem to be playing the PGA Championship in late February?
JACK: "Frankly, I think you could make a case for why it should be played at that time of the year. In 1971, I thought it was the best time and the best thing for the PGA, because it gave them the opportunity to start the year off in the majors. It also allowed them to play a southern venue, which they can't really do in the more traditional August timeframe. They could, but it certainly would not be as enjoyable. I think it was a great time to play the PGA Championship."
Apparently Deane Beman gave Jack a putting tip early that week after Jack played a lousy practice round - to take the putter back a little farther on the backswing. Jack then putted great during the week.
JACK: "It (the tip) was not to take the putter back a little farther on the backswing; the tip was to make sure I completed my backswing. Basically, it was that I shouldn't start my downswing before finishing my backswing. I putted very well that week because of that lesson. I am going to try again some time...I think I am going to try it on the 40th anniversary."
Gary Player stayed at Jack's house that week. Any recollection of that. In accounts of the week, they both sounded like they had some fun with it to reporters, Gary ended up being right there in contention until driving it OB late in the final round.
JACK: "We had a great time. We always have a good time together. Our families have stayed together many times during tournaments and we always enjoy it. Gary always jokes about trading dishes at the table with me, in case Barbara has put something in his food. He was convinced Barbara's prune cake eventually got him at the end of that week. It's all jokes. It's all fun stuff."
I'm guessing this was only one of two times Jack stayed at his own house during a major championship. (This would be in regards to majors on the regular tour, as you played a number of majors on the senior tour in your backyard). The 1987 PGA at Palm Beach being the other?
JACK: "That's about right."
Was it an advantage?
JACK: "It wasn't in 87."