Golf HOFer JACK NICKLAUS introduced MITT ROMNEY at a campaign stop in Ohio last week, a surprise given that Nicklaus “rarely has publicly voiced his political views throughout many years as a prominent American athlete,” according to Bill Fields of GOLF WORLD. Nicklaus “didn’t hold back” while introducing Romney, as he "spoke in favor of the challenger and sharply against” PRESIDENT OBAMA. Nicklaus said, “When I was competing, I didn’t lean on someone else in tough times. I knew what I had to do on the golf course to succeed, and when I won, I certainly didn’t apologize for my success.” Nicklaus and his wife, BARBARA, have reportedly “donated almost $22,000 to Republicans this election cycle, including $2,500 each” to Romney and U.S. House Speaker JOHN BOEHNER (R-Ohio) and “about $8,000 to the Republican Party.” This comes after Nicklaus a decade ago “responded to criticism” that he and ARNOLD PALMER “didn’t speak out during their primes to make golf more inclusive.” Nicklaus told the S.F. Chronicle, “How can we? Because we made a few putts?” (GOLF WORLD, 10/8 issue).
DRIVE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE: The AP reported Broncos Exec VP/Football Operations JOHN ELWAY is supporting Romney. Elway in a statement said that in "tough economic times, the country needs a president who understands how to get America working again.” The statement went on to say that America "needs a comeback team, and Romney and his running mate PAUL RYAN are that team” (AP, 10/2). Meanwhile, POLITICO’s Kevin Cirilli noted syndicated radio host RUSH LIMBAUGH yesterday called Elway “gutsy” for supporting Romney, though Limbaugh wondered whether Elway's endorsement "might hurt the GOP presidential nominee in Ohio.” Limbaugh said that the media "might say the endorsement could hurt Romney in battleground Ohio, where Cleveland Browns fans might still ‘hate’ Elway for ‘The Drive’” (POLITICO.com, 10/2).
WE'RE NO. 2: NFL Jets Owner WOODY JOHNSON earlier this week said he prefered a Romney win in the presidential election over a winning season for the Jets, and SportsNet N.Y.'s Eamon McAnaney said, “It comes across as the fact that the Jets aren't the most important thing in Woody Johnson's life, and we all know on this show how important the Jets are to Jet fans." McAnaney: "This is a starving fan base that is dying to win another Super Bowl, and when Woody Johnson makes these comments it comes across like it's just his little toy that he goes out and watches on Sundays. I really don't think that's fair." SNY's Marc Malusis said, “It’s about the passion. You own an NFL team to win!” Malusis: “You own a professional team in order to win championships ... and the idea that it's not first at the top of the priority list to me would drive me crazy if I was a Jet fan!” (“The WheelHouse,” SNY, 10/2).
BIG TIME SUPPORT: Dolphins Owner STEPHEN ROSS has “donated over $125,000 to Republican causes this election cycle, including $100,000 to a pro-Romney super PAC” (MIAMINEWTIMES.com, 10/2).