Gary Nicklaus, the 30-year-old son of Jack Nicklaus, shot a 7-under-par 63 in the final round of qualifying school yesterday to earn his PGA Tour card for the first time in nine attempts.
"Now I get to see how good I really am," Nicklaus said. "I've played a few tour events, but I haven't played a ton, and I'm excited to get out there and move on to new challenges. Hopefully, this is the last time I ever come to this tournament again."
Blaine McCallister, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, won the six-round event at Doral Golf Resort in Miami by closing with a 67 for a 19-under 401 total. The top 35 and ties earned their cards for the 2000 season, while the next 50 and ties earned a spot on the Buy.com Tour (formerly the Nike Tour).
The fourth of five children, Gary tied for 12th and became the first Nicklaus to make it through the pressure cooker known as Q-school. His father never needed Q-school, having won the U.S. Open as a rookie and winning the career Grand Slam before Gary was even born.
Jack Nicklaus, who had watched every shot his son played through five rounds on the Gold and Silver courses at Doral, missed the finish. He was in Latrobe, Pa., attending the funeral service for Arnold Palmer's wife, Winnie, who died Saturday.
"I've been telling Gary all along that he's a lot better player than he gives himself credit for being," said Nicklaus, who got telephone updates after each hole.
"Who knows? I might even take up golf again."
Including ties, 40 players earned their cards. Those who failed to earn their cards included former PGA Tour winners Chip Beck, Ken Green, Mike Hulbert, Bob Gilder, Jim McGovern and Grant Waite.
Elite Eight in Germany
When the ATP Tour World Championship came to Germany nine years ago, Andre Agassi won his first major title. Agassi will be the man to beat again this year, when the elite tournament bids farewell to Germany. A victory in the season-ending $3.6 million tournament that brings together the eight men with the best records of the year would be a fitting end to Agassi's best season on the tour.
"I feel great, although it's been a long year for me as well as for other players," Agassi said. "All of us are somewhat tired."
The American will finish the year ranked No. 1 in the world, regardless of the event's outcome. Agassi was paired in the Red Group with four-time champion Pete Sampras, Gustavo Kuerten and Nicolas Lapentti. The White Group has Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Thomas Enqvist, Nicolas Kiefer and Todd Martin.
Agassi will kick off the round-robin event today against Lapentti. Kuerten plays Sampras and Martin meets Kafelnikov. The top two finishers from each group will advance to the semifinals. Among those missing from the field because of injuries are Patrick Rafter and Marcelo Rios.
SOCOG Under Fire
An independent review criticized the controversial ticket program for next year's Summer Olympics, leading to calls for the resignation of Sydney Olympics Minister Michael Knight. New South Wales state opposition leader Kerry Chikarovski said Knight, a political rival, should quit as president of the organizing board SOCOG.
SOCOG was criticized when it was revealed it kept about 500,000 tickets out of a public pool to offer to corporate clients at up to three times face value. The majority of those tickets have been returned for normal sale following public outrage.
World Records Set
Halil Mutlu of Turkey set three world records while sweeping all three gold medals in the men's 123-pound class at the world championships in Athens. China's Chen Yanqing broke two women's records and North Korea's Ri Song Hui set one.
Mutlu, who already has seven world championship gold medals and one Olympic gold, broke his record in the snatch by 5 1/2 pounds, lifting 302 1/2 pounds. Then, he smashed the total weight record, which he held at 649 pounds, by lifting 352 pounds on his first attempt at the clean and jerk, for a total of 654 1/2. He then broke the mark set by Lam Chizhang of China by two pounds, lifting 365 pounds and improving his total to 665 1/2 pounds.
Chen, who held all three records in the women's 127 1/2-pound class, bettered her mark in the total weight by 11 pounds, lifting a combined 517 pounds. She also broke the world record by hoisting 231 pounds in the snatch, bettering her previous record by 5 1/2 pounds.
Ri set the women's clean-and-jerk record by lifting 288 pounds.
Johnson Had Prior Injury
Stephan Johnson's manager said he feels responsible for the beating that left his fighter unconscious and on a respirator. And he said he wonders whether a head injury Johnson received in a fight in April should have been a warning.
"It just breaks your heart," said Kenneth Woods, who was at Johnson's bedside at Atlantic City Medical Center. "I feel personally responsible because I made the fight. On paper, it seemed fine. But when tragedy comes, you have to look at the whole picture."
Johnson has not regained consciousness since he was knocked out Saturday night by Paul Vaden in a bout for the vacant USBA junior middleweight title. . . .
Contending the IBF is corrupt, federal prosecutors asked a judge to appoint an overseer for one of boxing's major governing bodies. The monitor would replace IBF President Robert Lee Sr., who was indicted on criminal bribery charges early this month.
U.S Attorney Robert Cleary said Zachary Carter, a former U.S. attorney for Brooklyn, N.Y., is his office's choice to become the IBF monitor. Prosecutors will ask a federal judge today to approve Carter as monitor and grant him subpoena powers.
Women's Hall Inductees
Eight coaches, including Sue Gunter of LSU and Kay Yow of North Carolina State, will join eight Olympians in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. The honorees, part of a 24-member group, will be installed in June as the Hall's second class of inductees.
The Olympians are Kim Mulkey-Robertson, Mildred Barnes, Nancy Dunkle, Cindy Noble Hauserman, Trish Roberts, Sue Rojcewicz and Juliene Simpson, all from the United States, and Olga Sukharnova, who led the Soviet Union to gold medals in 1976 and 1980. The other inductees are AAU and high school coaches and U.S. and international basketball officials.
Arena Football Deal
The Arena Football League expanded its television contracts by signing with ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and the Nashville Network. The three-year deal is worth about $25 million in cash, promotional value and exposure, according to Neal Pilson, the league's TV consultant. Every Arena Football game will be televised live next season, which begins in April.
U.S. Stays Undefeated
The United States upset three-time world champion Italy in straight sets and remained undefeated, along with Cuba and Russia, in the men's volleyball World Cup. Mike Lambert led the Americans (4-0) to a 25-23, 25-19, 25-22 victory over Italy. Italy is 2-2, along with Spain, Canada and South Korea.
Frenchman Serge Lang, who created skiing's World Cup, died Sunday night in France of a heart attack. He was 79.