Nicklaus said he and his wife began isolating themselves in their Florida residence March 13, just as the PGA Tour and much of the sports world shut down to help slow the spread of the pandemic.
“We were done with it by about the 20th of April,” Nicklaus said, adding that they “just stayed at home for the next month to make sure we were well.”
“Our hearts go out to the people who did lose their lives and their families,” Nicklaus said on CBS’s telecast. “We were just a couple of the lucky ones. So we feel very strong about working with those who are taking care of those who have covid-19.”
The 18-time major winner noted that his Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation has been selling hats with images of his Golden Bear logo wearing a mask. According to the foundation’s website, proceeds from the “Wear the Bear. Show You Care.” apparel has been going toward a coronavirus relief fund aimed at providing personal protective equipment and other key items to health-care workers and patients.
After Spain’s Jon Rahm won the Memorial on Sunday, Nicklaus bumped fists with him in celebration, while neither wore a mask.
Asked earlier in the week how he planned to congratulate the winner of his tournament, given the pandemic, Nicklaus asserted he would “walk right out there and shake [his] hand.”
He added at the time: “If they don’t want to shake my hand, that’s fine. I’ll give them a fist bump or an elbow bump, but I’m not going to give them covid-19, so that’s — I wouldn’t put anybody in that position. I wouldn’t do that, and if I was in any danger of doing that, I wouldn’t shake their hands.”
During Sunday’s interview, Nicklaus noted he had recently gotten confirmation that he still had coronavirus antibodies in his system and said that meant “theoretically, we can’t give it and can’t get it.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you get a positive result on an antibody test, “you still should take preventive measures to protect yourself and others.”
“We do not know yet if people who recover from COVID-19 can get infected again,” the agency states. “Scientists are working to understand this. … You should continue to protect yourself and others since you could get infected with the virus again.”
Tiger Woods, a five-time Memorial winner who is chasing Nicklaus’s majors record, said after his final round Sunday that he was aware Nicklaus and his wife had contracted the coronavirus.
“The fact that they got through it and they’re safe and here and healthy, it’s all good news for all of us who are a part of golf and who looked up to Jack and been around Barbara all these years,” Woods said (via the Associated Press). “The fact that they’re healthy is nothing but positives.”