Nicklaus-Palmer still the standard in golf rivalries

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Jack Nicklaus says if he were in a high-stakes match in Las Vegas in his prime, the most compelling opponent would be Arnold Palmer. Never mind that he considers his toughest rival to be Tom Watson. Or that he finished runner-up to Lee Trevino in majors four times in seven years.

With apologies to the super-hyped exhibition between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson on pay-per-view, any talk of rivalries in golf starts with Nicklaus and Palmer.

“I rarely lost to Arnold,” Nicklaus said last week before an American Cancer Society benefit. “We never ended up coming down the stretch every much.”

Nicklaus was a runner-up to him six times, including the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills as a 20-year-old amateur.

But unlike Woods-Mickelson, who never really squared off in a major until Woods’ fifth year on the tour, Nicklaus famously beat Palmer in a playoff to win the 1962 U.S. Open at Oakmont in Palmer’s backyard.

“Arnold and my rivalry became more from the two…

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