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50 Facts About Jack Nicklaus – The Greatest Professional Golfer of All Time

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Jack Nicklaus is a retired American professional golfer, who is widely regarded as the greatest professional golfer of all time, with a total of 18 career major championships wins over a span of 25 years. Here are 50 facts about the golf champion

Jack Nicklaus is pictured during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 2, 2013 in Dublin, Ohio.
(Photo : Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Jack Nicklaus is pictured during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 2, 2013 in Dublin, Ohio.
  1. He is the first living person outside the Royal family to appear on a banknote. Royal bank of Scotland issued a special commemorative five-pound note featuring him.
  2. On the campus of Ohio State University is a 24000 square foot “Jack Nicklaus Museum” offering a view of his life and career in and out of golf.
  3. On 28 October 2006 at the Ohio State home coming game he had the rare privilege of “Dotting the I” of “Script Ohio” the signature formation of Ohio State University Marching Band.
  4. He was named as a Global Ambassador for the “International Golf Federation” in 2008 along with Annika Sorenstam.
  5. He is considered to be instrumental in bringing golf to Olympics in 2016 and 2020. Golf was previously included in Olympics in 1904 when United State of America and Canada were the only competitors.
    Jack Nicklaus of the USA in action during the British Open at St Andrews Golf Club in Fife, Scotland.
    (Photo : Stephen Munday/Allsport) Jack Nicklaus of the USA in action during the British Open at St Andrews Golf Club in Fife, Scotland.
  6. On 19 May 2014 a bill H.R 2203 was passed in the United States House of Representatives to award Nicklaus the “Congressional Gold Medal” for promoting excellence and good sportsmanship.
  7. He was listed at # 1 in list of “Most Powerful People in Golf” for a record sixth consecutive time by Golf.inc Magazine.
  8. He is nicknamed as “Golden Bear”.
  9. He was inducted into World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974 and Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 1995.
  10. He was born as Jack William Nicklaus on 21 January 1940 to pharmacist Charlie Nicklaus and Helen in the Eastern side of Columbus.
  11. His father was a skilled all-round athlete who played football for Ohio State University Buckeyes. He even went to play semi professional football for Portsmouth Spartans which later changed to Detroit Lions.
    Jack Nicklaus of the USA poses with the trophy after his victory at the USPGA held in August 1980 at the Oak Hill Country Club, in Rochester, New York, USA.
    (Photo : Brian Morgan/Getty Images) Jack Nicklaus of the USA poses with the trophy after his victory at the USPGA held in August 1980 at the Oak Hill Country Club, in Rochester, New York, USA.
  12. Nicklaus attended Upper Arlington High School. The Mascot of the school was nicknamed as Golden Bear.
  13. He played his first golf at the age of 10, scoring 51 at Scioto Country Club for his first 9 holes. He was coached by farmer golf great Jack Grout. He also became Nicklaus’s lifelong golf instructor.
  14. He also overcame mild polio at an early age of 13.
  15. He won five consecutive titles at the Ohio State Junior Golf winning the first at the age of 12. At the age of 13 he broke 70 and became the youngest ever to enter U.S Junior Amateur.
  16. He scored his first hole-in one in a tournament play at the age of 14. The same year he won Tri-State High School Championship with a round of 68.
  17. In 1956 he won Ohio Open at the age of 16. He competed against the professionals and scored an impressive third round of 64.
    American golfer Jack Nicklaus takes a swing during the Open Golf Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes in Lancashire, 1969.
    (Photo : Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) American golfer Jack Nicklaus takes a swing during the Open Golf Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes in Lancashire, 1969.
  18. He competed in his first PGA Tour, the Rubber City Open at Akron, Ohio at the age of 18 in 1958. He finished at #12 place after being just one out of lead at the #36 hole.
  19. He made his first cut into the US Open in 1958 and finished at #41. He competed in 44 consecutive Us Opens in his career.
  20. He won 1959 and 1961 U.S Amateur Golf Tournament while he was attending Ohio State University. He defeated two-time champion Charles Coe in the final hole in the 1959 tournament.
  21. When he won the 1959 U.S Amateur, he became the second youngest to win the tournament after Robert A. Gardner won in 1909.
  22. He also became the first player to win both NCAA championship and the U.S Amateur in the same year in 1961. Later Phil Mickelson in 1990, Tiger Woods in 1996 and Ryan Moore in 2004 followed.
  23. Ben Hogan who played 36 holes with Nicklaus in U.S Open remarked that” I just played 36 holes with a kid who should have won by 10 shots.” Nicklaus was the only entrant in the tournament who never shot one above par during the 36 holes.
  24. Golf Digest magazine named him as the world’s top amateur golfer for three consecutive years from 1959 to 1961.
  25. He wanted to follow his father’s footsteps and became a pharmacist. He majored in pre-pharmacy for first three years at Ohio State University. He changed his mind once his golf achievements stated mounting.
  26. He married his wife Barbara Bash at the age of 20 in July 1960 and by September 1961 Nicklaus Junior was born.
    Athlete Jack Nicklaus and wife Barbara Bash attend 20th Century Sports Awards on December 2, 1999 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
    (Photo : Ron Galella/WireImage) Athlete Jack Nicklaus and wife Barbara Bash attend 20th Century Sports Awards on December 2, 1999 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
  27. To remain a golfer, he switched his study to insurance from pharmacy, but had to abandon the course short of a few hours. However the University granted him honorary doctorate in 1972.
  28. During an interview with Don Lawrence, after Nicklaus turned professional his future agent Mark McCormack described about the “large, strong and blond golfer”, which Lawrence referred in short as “Golden Bear” ultimately becoming his nickname.
  29. He was only 22 when he won his first US Open title in 1962. He became the second youngest to do so after Bobby Jones who was 21 in 1923. In the U.S Open, Nicklaus beat Arnold Palmer by 3 shorts, starting a long rivalry which attracted viewers to golf on television.
  30. International Management Group was formed by the association of the “Big-Three” of golf: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. Mark McCormack managed all the three players and he made this association happen. Nicklaus left it in early 1960 and set up his own management agency Golden Bear inc.
    Jack Nicklaus waits on a tee box during the 3M Greats of Golf at the Insperity Championship at The Woodlands CC on May 2, 2015 in The Woodlands, Texas.
    (Photo : Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Jack Nicklaus waits on a tee box during the 3M Greats of Golf at the Insperity Championship at The Woodlands CC on May 2, 2015 in The Woodlands, Texas.
  31. He became the first player to win the Masters championship consecutively in 1965 and 1966 and also the youngest two-time and three-time winner. He scored 271 breaking a record of Ben Hogan’s 274 from 1953 until Tiger Woods scored 270 in 1997.
  32. Until 1966, The Open Championship at Muirfield in Scotland was the only tournament that eluded him. Under heavy weather conditions and using drive just 17 times he won the tournament.
  33. He became the youngest player to win Career Slam (The Masters, The U.S Open, The Open Championship and PGA Championship) at 26 years, before Tiger Woods accomplished it in 2000 at age 24. Nicklaus won the double Slam in 1971 and triple Slam in 1978.
  34. United States golf team captain Sam Snead said” This is the greatest golf match you have ever seen in England”, talking about the competition between Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin. This was Nicklaus‘s first appearance in Ryder Cup in 1969 and the entire tournament came down to singles between him and Jacklin, eventually ending in a tie.
  35. His father died in February 1970, five months before he won the Open Championship under difficult scoring conditions. He dedicated this victory to his father who according to him lived his life through Nicklaus’s golf game.
  36. He remained as the #1 player in the world for 10 straight years starting from 1968 on the McCormack’s World Golf Ranking introduced in that year. This eventually evolved into the current Official World Golf Ranking which started from 1986.
    Jack Nicklaus poses with the newly named USGA Jack Nicklaus gold medal to be awarded to the US Open Champion starting in 2012 at a ceremony to honor Nicklaus's contributions to the game of golf prior to the start of the 112th U.S. Open at The Olympic Club on June 13, 2012 in San Francisco, California.
    (Photo : David Cannon/Getty Images) Jack Nicklaus poses with the newly named USGA Jack Nicklaus gold medal to be awarded to the US Open Champion starting in 2012 at a ceremony to honor Nicklaus's contributions to the game of golf prior to the start of the 112th U.S. Open at The Olympic Club on June 13, 2012 in San Francisco, California.
  37. “There are those in golf who would argue into next month that the final two rounds of the 1977 British Open were the greatest head-to-head golf match ever played. Not having been around for the first five hundred or so years of the game, I'm not qualified to speak on such matters. What's for sure, however, is that it was the most thrilling one-on-one battle of my career.” Nicklaus said about his dual with Tom Watson in 1977 Masters.
  38. He proposed some changes to Ryder Cup during his participation in 1977 event at Royal Lytham & St Annes, which was approved by the Samuel Ryder family and The PGA of America. The proposal was for the inclusion of professionals from European Tournament Players Division from Continental Europe would be eligible to play in Ryder Cup.
  39. Nicklaus has won all the Champions Tour Major (The Tradition, Senior PGA Championship, Senior Players Championship, and U.S Senior Open) except The Senior Open Championship also known as the Senior British Open. He was allowed to play in the British Open after he turned 60.
  40. The death of his grandson Jake due to drowning brought difficult time to the entire family. He along with his son Steve (Jake’s Father) played golf together to overcome the grief. Steve suggested him to return to The Masters in 2005 and he made that his last appearance in the tournament.
  41. He finished his professional career with the 2005 The Open Championship on 15 July at St Andrews.
  42. He along with his wife Barbara, established Nicklaus Children Health Care Foundation and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in West Palm Beach in 2004.
  43. He has launched a company Nicklaus Design, while actively participating in the game. The company had developed many golf courses across more than 30 countries.
  44. From his marriage to Barbara he has 5 children: Jack II, Steve, Nancy, Gary and Michael. He has 22 grandchildren in all.
  45. During his prime time he was the longest and straighter hitters on the PGA Tours. He held a record for longest drive contest at the 1963 PGA Championship with 312 meters for 20 years.
  46. Gary Player once stated that Nicklaus had the “greatest mind the game has ever known.” He was not known for his skill with wedge shots and always avoided them with clever planning.
  47. In his autobiography he wrote “I was a fine two-putter, but sometimes too defensive, too concerned about three-putting, to go for putts that I probably should have gone for.”
  48. In honor of his 17 month old grandson he established “The Jake”, a pro-am golf tournament played annually at The Bear’s Club in Florida.
  49. He still manages his own creation, Memorial Tournament played at Muirfield Village on the golf course he co-designed with Desmond Muirhead in 1974. The tournament is one of the most prestigious events on PGA tour.
  50. He also promoted the Jack Nicklaus Golf computer game series developed by Accolade between 1988 and 1998. Several of the golf courses he designed were incorporated in the series.

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