With all the day's money riding on the final hole, Jack Nicklaus put in an eight-foot birdie putt that gave him $240,000 in the second edition of the Skins Game yesterday in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Nicklaus, designer of the Desert Highlands Golf Club course, flipped his putter into the air, raised both fists in a victory salute and gave a happy whoop when the ball found the cup for the biggest payday of his career.
"It was a matter of pride as much as anything else," Nicklaus said. "None of us wanted to get shut out. None of us wanted to be embarrassed. And, when it got by the 17th, it was obvious that at least two of us were going to be shut out."
It was Nicklaus' only skin of the 18-hole, two-day match. But with the previous eight holes being halved, the day's take was waiting at the 18th. Tom Watson won four skins and all the money available ($120,000) Saturday.
The other members of the foursome -- Arnold Palmer, Watson and Gary Player -- each had putts for birdie-4 on the 18th. Watson missed from about 18 feet, Player from about 15 and Palmer from about 12.
Due to an all-night rain and early morning fog, yesterday's start was delayed about 70 minutes, which was a nasty stroke for NBC television. With Nicklaus about to chip to the 18th green, viewers in one-third of the nation were suddenly shifted to the NFL pregame show.
"We never intended to have the 'Skins' on live today," said Tom Merritt, a network spokesman. "It was all to be on a same-day tape delay. But the rain delay put us behind schedule and forced us to go live."