Neither Tom Watson
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nor Jack Nicklaus will be competing in the Senior PGA Championship this weekend in Benton Harbor, but that didn’t stop the golf greats
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from being the stars of Tuesday’s practice day at the Golf Club at Harbor Shores.
Watson, the defending 2011 Senior PGA champion, is not able to defend his title this week because of a pinched nerve in his right wrist. But he hosted the traditional Champions’ Dinner Tuesday night in St. Joseph. Watson and his wife, Hilary, selected the menu, which Watson said “reflects the international flavor of the game” and included roasted Michigan asparagus.
Nicklaus, who designed the Harbor Shores course, conducted an afternoon clinic on the practice range. Before an estimated crowd
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of 350, Nicklaus watched as five youngsters hit balls and offered some insight.
“Golf is a game played within
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yourself,” said the World Golf Hall of Famer and 18-time major champion. “The golf club is an extension of your arm. You always want to control the club, not let it control you.”
Both men also posed for photos on the first tee with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. Nicklaus was presented with a sculpture for his work on the Harbor Shores development project.
“This event, in terms of showing off our state and the accomplishments here in Benton Harbor, are fabulous,” Snyder said. “It shows the progress that can be made. If you look at what this was before and what it is now, it’s just
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fabulous. Pure Michigan.”
DIVOTS: Two-time major champion Sandy Lyle, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame this month, and 1989 Open Champion Mark Calcavecchia each led their team to a score of 15-under-par 56 to share top honors in Tuesday’s pro-am. Five teams tied at 14-under par, led by Fred Couples, Tom Kite, Kenny Perry, Mike Reid and Bob Tway. … Jim Remy posted his fourth career hole-in-one in the pro-am. The PGA honorary president used a 9-iron on the 130-yard second hole.