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Jack Nicklaus - Simply The Greatest Golfer Of All Time


Talk to any golfer, or any knowledgeable sports person for that matter, and ask them who the greatest golfer of all-time is and they will most likely answer Jack Nicklaus. This is no dis-respect to Tiger Woods, but Jack Nicklaus changed the world of golf for over 40 years. Jack's 20 majors are five more than his closest challenger and is a tribute to his incredible desire to win. This will applies not only on the course, but off of it as well. His work ethic and dedication to golf are what others only dream about.

Born in Columbus, OH January 21, 1940, Jack Nicklaus burst onto the PGA Tour in 1962. Along with his friend Arnold Palmer, they forever changed the golf world as we know it. They brought golf to television, and there classic duals changed the way people thought of golf. It helped to make it a household word. Suddenly, golf became cool.

One of the things that separates Jack from other athletes is that he did it the right way. You never heard about Jack being arrested for doing something he shouldn't have been doing. There were no scandals. There were no performance enhancing drugs. No alcohol issues, etc. Jack Nicklaus exemplified the meaning of the word class.

Jack is one of only two golfers who have won all four majors more than once. He is also the only player to have won all of golf's majors in both the PGA and Senior Tours.

One of the most memorable of Jack Nicklaus' performances came at the 1986 Masters. At the age of 46 few, if any people had given the Golden Bear any hope of playing well, let alone any chance at winning. But, for Jack, winning is what runs through his heart.

Trailing by 4 shots behind guys like Greg Norman, Tom Kite and Seve Ballesteros, things didn't look real good after nine holes. But, what followed on those final 9 holes will be forever remembered by anyone who loves golf. He birdied 9 - 10 - 11 and 13. Next came an eagle on 15 and the crowd, along with the TV audience knew they were witnessing something special. Then Jack nearly hit a hole-in-one on 16, making an easy birdie. At 17, Jack made a 12 putt for another birdie that put him in the lead. The crowd had never roared as loud as they did that day.

The golfers playing behind Jack could not even set up and play their shots at times due to the noise. When Jack made par at 18 for a 30 on the back 9 at Augusta, all he could do was wait and see what the other golfers would do. Amazingly, Seve Ballesteros hit his ball in the water, took a double bogey on the 15th hole and took himself out of a chance at winning. Tom Kite missed a crucial putt on 18 that would have tied him with Jack. Next, Greg Norman, who was tied with Jack at the time, made a bogey on the finishing hole to give Nicklaus the win and the green jacket. It's a tournament that will forever be remembered by golfers and fans alike.

The list of accomplishments in the career of Jack Nicklaus is immense. He finished with 73 PGA Tour wins and led the Tour in money earnings eight different years.

An interesting story at the end of Jack's career came at the 2005 British Open. Jack had announced earlier in the year that he would retire in 2005 at the British Open on the Old Course at St Andrews, the birthplace of golf. Well, the Open was not scheduled to be played at St Andrews until 2006. So, the organizers of the Open decided to move the schedule up one year and play the Open at St Andrews in honor of Jack's final tournament.

Today, Jack Nicklaus enjoys spending time with his family as well as his love of designing golf courses around the world. His design company, which he runs with his sons and other family members, is responsible for the design of nearly 1% of all the golf courses in the world. He also owns his own golf equipment company and runs the Memorial Golf Tournament, an annual stop on the PGA Tour.

It was only fitting that Jack finished his final hole of his last professional golf tournament with a birdie at St Andrews. Sinking a 15 foot curling putt, Jack raised his arms an extended his putter high in the air as he has done for so many years when he would sink a critical putt.

The golf world, and the world in general, has been blessed by having known Jack Nicklaus. Simply put, he is the greatest golfer of all-time.

 

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