In April of 1994, Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf brought together a match for the ages on Pinehurst No. 2
By Lee Pace
IT WAS SHOW BUSINESS, for sure. Jack Nicklaus vs. Arnold Palmer in a made-for-TV match at Pinehurst, part of the modern reincarnation of the Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf series. Nicklaus owned the TV production company. Flags on each green had the yellow Shell logo in place of a green Pinehurst logo. No one hit a shot until cameras were properly positioned.
But watching Nicklaus and Palmer stride to the 18th green on a brilliant April afternoon in 1994, Palmer tipping his visor and Nicklaus patting his old rival on the back, was as real as the historical moments come on Pinehurst No. 2.
Arnie … Jack … Pinehurst … what scriptwriter came up with this? Some 4,000 in the gallery appreciated the significance of the moment. They clustered around the final green five and six deep, offering a hearty and rousing ovation to these heroes in the twilight of their careers.
Nicklaus won the match with a 67, rolling in a 70-foot putt from off the 18th green for a final birdie. Palmer shot 74.
“Jack and I haven’t always agreed on everything, but I think we’ve found one common ground here,” Palmer said after a practice round the day before the match. “I agree with him that No. 2 has been one of the greatest golf courses I’ve ever had the opportunity to play. And I go back to when he was wearing three-quarters pants when I first came here. That would have been 1947.” … Continue Reading