JACK NICKLAUS, Hall of Fame golfer Pick: Ravens 24, 49ers...

JACK NICKLAUS, Hall of Fame golfer
Pick: Ravens 24, 49ers 21
"It really is a toss-up game, but being a longtime AFC fan, I will go with Baltimore."
Credit: Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jack Nicklaus always treated the U.S. Open with the utmost respect, having played in it 44 times and won it four times. He still feels that way about it. "I always felt the U.S. Open was the most important championship in the world," he said.

The feeling is mutual. The U.S. Golf Association announced Wednesday that it has renamed the champion's gold medal, which has been awarded since 1895, the Nicklaus Medal with Jack's likeness on it. Plus, an extension is being built onto the USGA Museum to house the Jack Nicklaus Room.

During a news conference at the Olympic Club Wednesday, the USGA also showed the trailer for a documentary by Emmy winner Ross Greenburg, "1962 U.S. Open: Jack's First Major," which will air on NBC Sunday.

Nicklaus clearly was moved. He said, "When somebody comes to me and says, 'Hey, I won the Jack Nicklaus Medal,' I'll say, 'That's great.' Thanks so much."


Mainland China's big week

This has been the greatest week mainland China ever has experienced in golf. Shanshan Feng won the LPGA Championship on Sunday, the nation's first major title. Then on Monday, 14-year-old Andy Zhang got word that he was in the field of the U.S. Open.

"Yes, this is a sign of things to come," said Ralph Howe III of West Sayville, a former U.S. Public Links champion who is now teaching golf in China. One of his 14-year-old students, Tiger Xiu, is a close friend of Zhang's. Xiu shot 66 last week and beat Howe by 10 shots.

"The biggest thing these young players are lacking is tournament experience," Howe said, "but they are getting more and more opportunities to play and compete every year."

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