Originally Posted by cwebbie
Nicklaus is a class act. What else is he gunna say? 'Back in my day there were at ileast a few guys that could overcome the pressure of winning majors. Arnie, Gary, Tom, Lee, and Seve didn't just show up and play for second--they came at me with total confidence that they could win, unlike today's 'superstar athletes' that seem content to settle for second place money.'
Jack's humility would never let him come out and say something like that, but I wouldn't be a surprised if that's what he's thinking,
I'm not sure if you're joking or not, but that sounds exactly like something Jack would say, at least after Tiger became a serious rival to his records. IIRC, a few years ago Jack even said that he could have won 25 majors if he had wanted to, but he had other priorities.
And I have never understood the argument about how big money makes players settle for second. IMO, what big money does is remove the risk of going for the win.
Consider a golfer playing the par-5 18th hole of a hypothetical US Open. He's in the final group, one shot behind the leader, and his playing partner is out of contention, but there are three players in the clubhouse a shot behind him, and three more a shot behind them. If he lays up, he has a good chance of finishing solo second. If he goes for the green, he might make birdie or even eagle, with a chance to win or tie. But he might hit it into the water, and make double bogey or worse, and finish ninth.
If he's playing in 1962, that's a tough choice, because wining the US Open gets you some prestige in the golf world, but it only pays $17,500, which is very nice, but not life changing. On the other hand, ninth place pays only about $1700, which is only a little over one fourth of the median US income for that year. It wouldn't even pay the bills for a pro and his caddie for the season. If you can get a stress-free second place check of $10,500, that might be the way to go.
If he's playing in 2012, there is no question about going for the win. Winning a US Open today not only pays $1.4 million, which is life changing in itself, but it makes you an instant superstar, with appearances on all the talk shows, millions in additional endorsements, etc. And there is really no risk, because even if you miss the shot and finish 9th, you still win over $200,000, nearly four times today's median income, and you get all kinds of exemptions for finishing in the top ten.
So how does the big money make players settle for second?