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Published: Monday, 4/7/2003

Arnie and Jack will play in Senior Open at Inverness


AUGUSTA, Ga. - Officials of the U.S. Senior Open and Toledo-area golf fans will get their wish.

Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus both intend to play in the Senior Open at Inverness Club in late June.

Palmer, appearing yesterday at a Golf Writers Association of America function in Myrtle Beach, S.C., verified that he had submitted his entry form to the U.S. Golf Association.

“I'm really looking forward to returning to Inverness for the Senior Open,” Palmer told The Blade. “I've had great respect for the course back to my amateur days and certainly enjoyed playing in four major championships there during my years on the [PGA] tour.”

A USGA spokesman said Nicklaus, who was not able to be reached for comment yesterday, also has submitted his entry.

Like Palmer, Nicklaus has played in four previous majors at Inverness. In fact, the Ohio native made the first of 44 consecutive U.S. Open appearances - a streak that was not broken until the summer of 2001 - at Inverness while still an amateur in 1957.

Palmer also played in '57 and joined Nicklaus in Inverness fields for the 1979 Open as well as the 1986 and '93 PGA Championships.

Neither has won at Inverness, although Nicklaus posted a pair of top-20 finishes. He tied for ninth in the '79 Open, won by Hale Irwin, and tied for 16th behind champion Bob Tway at the '86 PGA.

Nicklaus, 63, is a two-time Senior Open champion (1991-93) while the 73-year-old Palmer has played in 22 consecutive Senior Opens since winning the event at Oakland Hills, near Detroit, in 1981, the first year he was eligible to compete in the tournament.

“The Senior Open will definitely be a sentimental championship in that it's the last time we'll get to see Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus playing in a tournament in Toledo,” said Senior Open director Judd Silverman. “For everything they've meant to the game, I'm confident the community will turn out in large numbers to cheer them on one last time.”

Nicklaus and Palmer will both play this week in the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.

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