Created: 04/24/2015 7:22 AM WNYT.com
RIDGEDALE, Mo. (AP) — Jack Nicklaus needed some help wrapping his head around the format changes in the Champion Tour's Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.
"You lost me because I don't even know what you're talking about," Nicklaus said. "What are we doing here tomorrow?"
Nicklaus and partner Gary Player will open Friday on Big Cedar Lodge Resort's par-3 Top of the Rock layout, playing nine holes of better ball and nine holes of modified alternate shot.
"What's modified alternate shot?" the 75-year-old Nicklaus asked.
In modified alternate shot both players hit a tee shot, then pick the best ball and play alternate shot from there.
"OK, fine," Nicklaus said. "We'll really do well with that."
On Saturday, Nicklaus and Player will play a better-ball round on Buffalo Ridge's regulation Springs course. The Legends Division for players 65 and older will close Sunday with nine holes of better-ball play on the Nicklaus-designed par-3 course.
"I've got it down," Nicklaus said. "I don't play golf anymore and I don't really pay much attention to it. I'm here because Gary's my friend and we're going to have a good time and we're going to do our best to try to see if we cannot finish last, maybe even finish first, and enjoy the week.
In the Champions Division, the two-man teams will finish with 18 holes on the par-3 layout — nine of better ball and nine of modified alternate shot.
Last year at Big Cedar, Jeff Sluman and Fred Funk teamed to win the Champions Division, and Jim Colbert and Jim Thorpe topped the Legends Division. Sluman also won the 2013 event in Savannah, Georgia, teaming with Brad Faxon.
Sluman has yet another partner this year in Tom Lehman after Funk feared that he wouldn't be able to play because of an elbow injury.
"I had to call him about a month or month and a half ago and tell him that more than likely I wasn't going to be able to play," Funk said. "I didn't think I'd even have a chance to play back then. I've been fighting tennis elbow really bad and couldn't even pick up a cup of coffee back then when I called him. All of a sudden it started getting a little better and I played last week."
Funk ended up being paired with Eduardo Romero.
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