Column: Nicklaus has plenty of advice for anyone who asks

Jack Nicklaus speaks ahead of this week's Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Nicklaus remains a relevant voice in the game without having played in 16 years. (AP Photo/Doug Ferguson)
Jack Nicklaus speaks ahead of this week's Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Nicklaus remains a relevant voice in the game without having played in 16 years. (AP Photo/Doug Ferguson)

DUBLIN, Ohio – Jack Nicklaus is rarely at a loss for words no matter the subject, except for those occasions when he knows as much as anyone. And then he waits.

One of the topics Tuesday at his Memorial Tournament was how often players from his era would help each other with their games while competing against each other, and whether that happens enough today.

Nicklaus hasn't played against top competition since he crossed the Swilcan Bridge one last time at St. Andrews in 2005 and made a birdie on the final hole (of course) at the British Open.

He still pays attention. He remains a relevant voice.

“I watch all the guys,” Nicklaus said. “We had 30 kids down at the Bear's Club that I see all the time. I watch them constantly. I keep my mouth shut unless asked. But generally speaking, I see things all the time and especially I see it creep into their game. And then a lot of times they come to me and I say, ‘I saw this a couple month ago, but I didn’t want to open my mouth because I didn't want to do that to you.”

Tiger Woods could appreciate that. During one of his early swing changes, he couldn't open his locker at a tournament without envelopes of unsolicited advice falling to the floor. The late Jack Fleck once digressed in an interview that he was trying to get Woods' phone number and that “if wants to be the best driver, call me.”

This was in 2007. Woods had won four of his last nine majors and was runner-up in two others.

Jordan Spieth still considers one of his favorite moments being outside the back of the clubhouse at Augusta National with Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer in 2014, his first Masters at age 20, listening to Nicklaus talk about how to play the course where he won six green jackets.