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Arnie and Jack Show Not a Farewell Tour

March 22, 2003|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

ORLANDO, Fla. — And for the latest Arnold Palmer-Jack Nicklaus update: Their two-rounds-and-out at Bay Hill might have been their PGA Tour swan song as a duo, but they're not going anywhere.

Palmer's rounds of 87-85 place the 73-year-old legend at 28 over par and mean he's a lock to wind up last when the 60 players who didn't finish Friday finally complete 36 holes this morning.

Nicklaus improved on his opening 82 with a 76 Friday, but he's 14 over par at 158 and it's a virtual lock that there are only three players who will finish lower than the 63-year-old icon -- Rory Sabbatini, Charlie Meade and Palmer.

Afterward, neither said he's through, which is good news for everyone who wants to see them play. Nicklaus has long said he wouldn't hang around to be a "ceremonial" golfer and hints he's going to play the Masters for a 42nd time.

"I scored horribly, but I like some of the things I did," said Nicklaus, who said he'll decide to play the Masters after he practices at Augusta National sometime in the next week or two.

"If I think I can, I'll go play," he said. "If this is any indication here, I can't play anything."

Palmer wore a hat with the brim down and a wide smile for most of the day, trailed, as usual, by his adoring army of fans. They didn't care what he shot. Neither, apparently, did Palmer, who was asked if he saw himself playing at Bay Hill again next year.

"Here?" he said. "Gosh, I hope I'm alive next year. I don't know. That's a long way off. I hope I'm here for the tournament."

Palmer said his shoulders are sore and that he may get cortisone injections so that he might play sometime on the Champions Tour.

He definitely wasn't playing his last round Friday, Palmer said.

"I'm going to play another round whether it's here or wherever it is," he said. "I may not play in the tournament anymore here, but that isn't a big thing for me to get sentimental about."

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