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Nicklaus Won't Play the Masters

April 03, 2002|Thomas Bonk

For only the second time in 44 years, Jack Nicklaus won't play the Masters next week. Nicklaus, 62, a six-time Masters champion, has had back problems for months and has not played a tournament this year.

"My back is better and hopefully it will come around to the point where it will allow me to play golf in the not-so-distant future," Nicklaus said Tuesday in a statement. "I really miss competitive golf. It's in my blood."

The only other time Nicklaus was unable to play the Masters since his first visit as a 19-year-old amateur in 1959 was in 1999, three months after he'd had hip replacement surgery.

Nicklaus is still entered in the Countrywide Tradition, a major on the Senior PGA Tour, to be played April 25-28 near Phoenix.

Nicklaus said he wishes he were able to play, adding he would attend Tuesday night's Champions Dinner in Augusta. He said he wants to play the Masters again.

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