The great man made his living on grass, he knows more about grass than your average botanist. He has walked on it, putted on it, chipped on it and now he admitted to smoking it too!
We are not talking about smoking Bermuda, Kikuyu, Rye or Creeping Fescues here either… Jack Nicklaus admitted this week that it was the real weed stuff he tried after a dinner party one night! Marijuana, Hash, weed, sin-similla, call it what you like…Jack smoked it…just once though!
In the autumn of his career, Jack Nicklaus confessed to trying marijuana early in his career. But nobody is going to drag the Golden Bear's reputation through the mud as he admitted his experimentation with soft drugs was just a passing fad and his curiosity got the better of him.
"Anybody who tells you the truth probably tried it at some time in their life,'' Nicklaus said. "What's the big deal about it? I don't ever lie about something if I can avoid lying about it.''
In an interview in Golf Digest Magazine, Nicklaus said he was having dinner with a college buddy about thirty years ago when his friend asked if he could light up a joint! Not the sort of stuff you ask in front of a multiple Major winner is it!
But Nicklaus said to his friend that he wanted to try it, as he was curious, especially in the height of the swinging sixties where both soft and stronger chemicals were freely available.
"I never had a puff of the stuff, so I said, `Let me have a puff.' I felt terrible, man,'' Nicklaus said.
"I never want to touch that stuff. If my kids ask me, I tell them, `Man, it was terrible.' That's what it was.''
But the Bear is not going to make a big deal about it.
"I mean goodness gracious, the President of the United States has tried it," Nicklaus said before what could be his last U.S. Open. "Everybody's tried something at one point in their lives. I'm just being honest."
"It's not like I'm a marijuana smoker," Nicklaus said. "I took one puff and woooo, forget it. The room was spinning a little bit. I was knocked out, went to bed at 8 o'clock. And that was it. Never wanted to do it again. It might have been a little strong. There might have been something else in there. My friend was a pretty wild guy. Back in school, he used to blow things up in the chemistry lab."
And just in case any Golf writers decided to beat up the story on the eve of his last US Open, he did a 'Tarrant'…asked the audience!
"I mean, how many of you here can raise your hand and say you've never tried it?" Nicklaus asked a group of about 15 reporters surrounding him. Nobody raised their hands. "You see?"
"I'm just a human being," said Nicklaus, a 60-year-old grandfather. "I mean I assume my kids have tried it too, but I trust their judgement. They've been responsible about everything in their lives."