Jack Nicklaus

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Jack William Nicklaus (born January 21, 1940 in Columbus, Ohio), also known as "The Golden Bear", was a major force in professional golf from the 1960s to the late 1990s, and is regarded as the greatest golfer of all time.

Together with Arnold Palmer, he is credited with turning golf into the major spectator sport it has become. While Palmer brought golf into the TV era, it was the developing Nicklaus-Palmer rivalry that drove subsequent interest.

Career Highlights

Nicklaus took up golf at the age of ten, shooting 51 for his first nine holes. He won the first of six Ohio State Junior titles at the age of twelve. While attending Ohio State University he won the U.S. Amateur title twice (1959, 1961) and an NCAA Championship (1961).

Nicklaus began his professional career in 1962 and his record of eighteen wins in major tournaments is as yet unmatched: three Open Championships, four U.S. Opens, five PGA Championships, and six Masters. He is one of only five golfers to win all four current majors in a career, and the first of only two (the other being Tiger Woods) to have won all four majors more than once. In 1986, he became the oldest player to ever win The Masters. In all, he had 48 top-3 finishes in majors, including 19 second places and nine thirds, 56 top-5 finishes and 73 top-10 finishes.

Nicklaus's six wins at the Masters came in 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975 and 1986. His win tally is a record and he was also runner-up four times. In the 1970s he finished in the top ten every year. He appeared in the event 45 times and made the cut 37 times.In 1998, at the age of 58 he finished an impressive sixth.

He won the U.S. Open in 1962, 1967, 1972 and 1980, and is tied with Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and Willie Anderson for most wins. He is the only player to win the title in three different decades, and also had four runner-up finishes in his 42 appearances. He made the cut 35 times.

Nicklaus won the British Open in 1966, 1970, 1978, and was runner-up seven times. He made the cut in 32 out of 38 appearances, and from 1966 to 1980 he never finished worse than sixth.

His five wins at the PGA Championship came in 1963, 1971, 1973, 1975 and 1980. He is tied with Walter Hagen for most wins. He made the cut 27 times in 37 finishes and was runner-up four times. His 1971 victory made him the first player to win the career Grand Slam twice, an achievement which was matched by Tiger Woods at the 2005 British Open.

Nicklaus also won the prestigious Players Championship three times. He won events around the globe, including six Australian Opens (1964, 1968, 1971, 1975, 1976 and 1978).

He is second to Sam Snead on the all-time chart of players with most PGA Tour wins, having accumulated seventy-three titles. In seventeen consecutive seasons from 1962 to 1978 he always won at least one PGA Tour title and always finished in the top ten on the money list. He topped the PGA Tour money list eight times: 1964, 1965, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976.

In 1996, Nicklaus was the first person in the history of the PGA to win the same Senior PGA Tour (now the Champions Tour) event four times. He is the only person in the history of the PGA to win all of the major championships on both the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour. (Although he never won the Senior British Open, it was not recognized as a major in the United States until 2003, after he had stopped playing the Champions Tour.) He never played a full schedule on the Champions Tour, but he won ten Champions Tour events, including eight majors.

In 1978, he received Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award. In 1980 he was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award.

In July 2005, the Royal Bank of Scotland announced that Nicklaus's image would be printed on a special issue of two million £5 notes. Apart from HM The Queen, he is the only living person to be featured on a Scottish banknote [1].

Jack Nicklaus had an unusual combination of being one of the greatest putters of all time as well as the longest hitter on the tour during his prime. He popularized the "power fade" which was his characteristic ball flight.

Jack Nicklaus was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.

Current career

Nicklaus turned 65 in January 2005, which is the last year that he will be joining a PGA tournament as an exempt player. He announced that he would retire from tournament golf in 2005 at The Open Championship at The Old Course at St Andrews. The very fact that the 2005 Open was scheduled at The Old Course can be seen as a tribute to Nicklaus. Several years earlier, the organizers of The Open, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A), had scheduled the 2006 Open for The Old Course. However, aware that Nicklaus' exemption to play in The Open would run out after the 2005 Open, The R&A moved The Old Course up in the rotation one year to give Nicklaus an opportunity to play his last Open there.

He is currently a leading golf course architect, in partnership with his sons and son-in-law through Nicklaus Design, and is personally responsible for well over 200 golf course designs. These include several of the world's leading courses, such as Muirfield Village, Shoal Creek, Castle Pines and the PGA Centenary Course at the Gleneagles Hotel.

Nicklaus also continues to manage the Memorial Golf Tournament he created in his home state of Ohio, which is played on a course he designed and is one of the more prestigious events on the PGA TOUR. His other interests are varied and many, and include a golf equipment company and golf academies. There is a Jack Nicklaus Museum on the campus of Ohio State University in his home town of Columbus, Ohio. [2]

Final Tournament

Jack Nicklaus playing his final round of competitive golf
Jack Nicklaus playing his final round of competitive golf

Nicklaus played without much preparation in April 2005 at The Masters, a month after the drowning death of his 17-month-old grandson Jake (child of his son, Steve) on March 1, 2005. He and Steve played golf as therapy for their grief following the death. After days of playing, it was Steve who suggested his dad return to The Masters. He made that his last appearance in the tournament.

Nicklaus finished his career at St. Andrews on July 15, 2005. He played with Luke Donald and Tom Watson in his final round. On the 18th hole, Nicklaus finished his career with a bang by putting a birdie. He finished the round at even par and missed the cut at score of +3. After hitting the final tee-shot of his career, he strolled to the Swilcan bridge on the 18th and waved to the crowd (who gave a ten-minute standing ovation) before posing for commemorative photographs with his son and caddy, Steve, as well as Donald and Watson.

PGA Tour wins

Majors are shown in bold.

Senior PGA Tour wins

Senior majors are shown in bold.

Other wins

Results in major championships

Tournament 1957 1958 1959
The Masters DNP DNP CUT
U.S. Open CUT T41 CUT
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
The Masters T13 T7 T15 1 2 1 1 CUT T5 T24
U.S. Open 2 T4 1 CUT T23 T31 3 1 2 T25
The Open Championship DNP DNP T32 3 2 T12 1 2 T2 T6
PGA Championship DNP DNP T3 1 T2 T2 T22 T3 CUT T11
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
The Masters 8 T2 1 T3 T4 1 T3 2 7 4
U.S. Open T49 2 1 T4 T10 T7 T11 T10 T6 T9
The Open Championship 1 T5 2 4 3 T3 T2 2 1 T2
PGA Championship T6 1 T13 1 2 1 T4 3 CUT T65
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
The Masters T33 T2 T15 WD T18 T6 1 T7 T21 18
U.S. Open 1 T6 2 T43 T21 CUT T8 T46 CUT T43
The Open Championship T4 T23 T10 T29 T31 CUT T46 T72 T25 T30
PGA Championship 1 T4 T16 2 T25 T32 T16 T24 CUT T27
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
The Masters 5 T35 T42 T27 CUT T35 T41 T39 T6 DNP
U.S. Open T33 T46 CUT T72 T28 CUT T27 T52 T43 CUT
The Open Championship T63 T44 CUT CUT CUT T79 T44 60 DNP DNP
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
The Open Championship CUT DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT

DNP = did not play
WD = withdrew due to injury
CUT = missed the half way cut
"T" indicates a tied for a place.

See also

External links

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