The Spectacle Blog

Of Jack Nicklaus and Whitney Houston

By on 2.13.12 | 8:30AM

Back in my earlier days when I was a sportswriter, in one of the five or six times I was around Jack Nicklaus (which isn't many, but by being limited they were thus more memorable), I remember one time when he commented not on golf but on music. Alas, I can't remember the scene, but just the comment. It was probably in the men's grill at the English Turn course he designed in New Orleans, but it may have been as he waited out a rain delay near the Sixth fairway at Congressional in the mid-1990s. Anyway, somehow the subject of Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All" came up. It may have been on the radio in the men's grill in the background -- or, for that matter.... now I'm really going to contradict myself, because the more I think of it the more I think I might have seen it on a TV feed at one of those events, so... oh well, it doesn't matter where I was. What I remember was that Nicklaus smiled and saying something like: "Good song. I like that. Good message for the kids. Teach them self-reliance. Good stuff."

True enough, especially compared to much of the trash that long has passed for pop/rock lyrics. Even when talking pop culture, Nicklaus has good sense. Whitney Houston was a diva, but even divas occasionally can find the right message (making allowances for not exactly being profound or deep) to go with the right voice. That's why, in remembering Whitney Houston, we can use the title of a song by a tremendously talented diva of another generation who died in her 40s, Billie Holiday: "God Bless the Child." R.I.P.

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