Jack Nicklaus - Simply The Greatest Golfer Of All
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
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
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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