Legends rest on laurels

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

BANFF -- Organizers of the Telus Skins Game sought to give golf fans a history lesson during the annual two-day event this year.

Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus were happy to oblige.

Not by showing up to play one of Western Canada's oldest golf courses, or teeing off with antiquated hickory sticks, but by recalling one of the most memorable Masters moments in golf history.

It's been 20 years since Nicklaus won his last Green Jacket at Augusta National, something Norman recalled with slight envy yesterday.

"I was on the 15th fairway at Augusta and Jack was on 17, and in those days the gallery didn't walk up the right-hand side between 17 and 15," said Norman, who ultimately finished second in the 1986 Masters.

"I will never forget that son of b---- lifting that putter up like that and I thought, 'Oh, s---,' there he goes."

The Golden Bear and the Shark didn't craft any new memories yesterday but left an impression on Alberta golf fans.

The two legends of the game left Alberta without any skins, giving way to seven-time participant John Daly, who won all nine skins on Day 2 for $210,000.

Daly, who didn't win any skins over the first nine holes, has never been shutout during his visits to Canada. Yesterday was no different.

"I didn't think I hit the ball that bad (Monday) but I just couldn't make any putts," said Daly. "To do well, you've got to make putts and I was fortunate to make a couple today."

The flatstick was the downfall for Calgary's Stephen Ames yesterday. Ames, who picked up six skins for $95,000 Monday, played a really solid round but couldn't get anything to fall.

"I played well. Today was a little ball striking feel-wise for me," said Ames. "I was hitting the shapes that I wanted to hit, which is important. Putting was a bit off speed-wise but, other than that, I feel good about going into Medinah next week."

Spain's Sergio Garcia, the fifth player in this week's Telus Skins Game, couldn't really get anything going yesterday but didn't walk away empty-handed.

Garcia grabbed three skins and $55,000 in his second appearance at this event.

As for the old boys, so to speak, Norman and Nicklaus weren't out of contention on any holes.

In fact, both players put up solid numbers and kept up in the driving category, for the most part, but, like Ames couldn't make anything happen with the putter.

Nonetheless, the two appeared happy with the event and the course.

"I know I'm not sharp but I think I hit the ball pretty well this week," said Nicklaus. "It's a beautiful setting. With the rivers, trees and the mountains, you can't beat the setting."

We know how Norman felt on the subject of the '86 Masters and taking a trip down memory lane but Nicklaus isn't as nostalgic.

"I will say it's on television a lot," he said, smiling. "Every once in a while when I'm walking by (the TV), I will stop and watch a shot or two but I'm not really a nostalgic guy who looks back. I enjoyed my life and I enjoyed playing golf."

We enjoyed it too.

HIGH FIVE: Brad Pelletier, vice president and managing director of IMG Canada, couldn't have been happier with the way things worked out for this year's Telus Skins Game.

Pelletier was the brainchild behind the historical theme for the annual summer event and the driving force for getting all the golfers on board.

"We're very excited for what's been accomplished here," said Pelletier. "It's all been a series of firsts. In a sport where everything has been tried, we were the first to go with five players, we were the first to go with a heritage theme, were the first to do the hickory shafts ... I'm thrilled with how things came out -- and we're in Banff, which is a pretty awesome combination."

Pelletier couldn't confirm where next year's Skins Game will be held but he did stress he's got some other great theme ideas, which should keep Canadian golf fans interested in the event for a long time.


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