For the past 30 years, Jack Nicklaus has been considered by many to be the greatest golfer of all time(1). His stamina has matched that of Arnold Palmer, and only the likes of Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Bobby Jones, and Tiger Woods are to be considered players in Nicklaus’ league. In numbers of major tournaments won, Nicklaus stands alone with 18 victories(1), a number that does not include major titles won on the Champions Tour. He has won 73 times on the PGA Tour and has 58 second-place and 36 third-place finishes, as well as a total of 113 victories worldwide.(1) Nicklaus has finished top PGA Tour money winner 8 times and has also held the tour’s low-scoring average eight times.(1) He was named the PGA’s Player of the Year in 1967, 1972, 1973, 1975, and 1976, and Golf magazine in 1988 named him the “Player of the Century.”(1) In his career on the PGA Tour, Jack Nicklaus has proven to be one of the best golfers in the history of the game, and has shown a true love for the sport since childhood on until his old age.
Nicklaus began playing golf at the age of 10 in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio(7). He shot a 51 on the first nine holes he ever played.(2) At the age of 13, he broke 70 and held a three handicap.(2) Tutored by club pro Jack Grout, Nicklaus showed realPage 1potential early on for tournament play and he dominated local and national junior golf events as well as going on to capture two U.S. Amateur Championships in 1959 and 1961.(1) By the time he turned pro in November, 1961, he had established himself as the country’s greatest amateur golfer while at the same time giving the professionals a scare. He finished runner-up to Arnold Palmer by only two strokes in the 1960 U.S. Open, and was a fourth-place finisher in the 1961 U.S. Open(1).In 1962, at the Oakmont Country Club outside of Pittsburgh, Nicklaus beat Arnold Palmer in a playoff to win the U.S. Open(1). Palmer’s millions of diehard fans and the huge crowd of gallery members, called Arnie’s Army(9), that followed their hero from tee to green, were crushed by their hero’s loss. The Nicklaus victory went down as one of the most unpopular the world of golf had ever known(9).Nicklaus’s mind, even more than his great natural talent and long-ball swing, was the key to his success. He rarely made a poor decision in a tournament and never second-guessed himself. One of t…
…Woods, who claims Jack is hisPage 4
“idol”.(4) Jack Nicklaus doesn’t play the kind of golf he was once able to, but he still never fails to disappoint his fans, such as when he recorded a hole-in-one in 2003 at the Senior British Open. (1) The mark he has left on the game of golf is undeniable and indisputable, and he will certainly be remembered as one of the greatest to ever play the game for generations to come.
Works Cited1. www.pgatour.com
3. The Volume Library, Book II. Copyright 1999, Southwestern Company, Nashville, TN4. Woods, Tiger. Tiger Woods: How I Play Golf Time Warner Publishing, 2001
5. www.encarta.com6. www.nicklausmuseum.org7. www.golfeurope.com
9. Sportscentury: Jack Nicklaus; ESPN documentary