Golf-‘So what?’ Nicklaus not worried about low scores at St. Andrews

(Reuters) – Jack Nicklaus is not worried about records tumbling at this week’s British Open at St. Andrews and says the “magical” Old Course will produce a “good champion” even if benign conditions allow players to shoot low in the tournament’s 150th edition.

Forecasts for calm conditions in Scotland have led to some players predicting the layout is in danger of being picked apart, with Jordan Spieth saying it could turn into a “wedge contest” unless the wind offers some protection.

The lowest round at a men’s major was carded by Branden Grace, who shot a 62 at Royal Birkdale in 2017, while the record for St. Andrews is 61, carded by Ross Fisher the same year.

“Might shoot low, so what?” Nicklaus, who won two of his three British Open titles at St. Andrews, told reporters on Monday.

“They’re shooting low now compared to what they shot 100 years ago. Times change and golfers get better, equipment gets better, conditions get better.

“Shoot low scores, but I don’t think it really makes a whole lot of difference frankly. It’s St. Andrews and it is what it is, and it will produce a good champion,” the 82-year-old added.

“It’s a magical golf course … To believe the game of golf essentially started here, and it just absolutely is mind-boggling to me that it still stands up to the golfers of today.”

The British Open will be played from July 14-17 and is expected to draw a record attendance of 290,000. It will be the 30th time that golf’s oldest major has been held over the Old Course.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)