There are very few names in sport that can truly be referred to as a legend. Jack Nicklaus is one such person that wholly deserves this label. Sure, today we have Mcilroy and a once great, though sadly fading Woods, but even contemporary players don’t come close to emulating the achievements of Jack Nicklaus over a forty year career.
A golfing revolution
Born in Columbus, Ohio on 21st January 1940 Jack Nicklaus burst onto the PGA tour in 1962, and forever changed the game of golf. Along with his great friend, Arnold Palmer, Nicklaus commercialised and popularised golf, bringing the sport to television and inspiring generations of young players.
Jack Nicklaus has unquestioned character. He was never embroiled in professional or personal controversy, and is perhaps the best ambassador a sport could have. Never one for dubious tendencies, Nicklaus exemplified the wholesome, clean-cut sportsman.
One of only two golfers to have won all four majors on more than one occasion, Nicklaus reigned as the undisputed king of the tour throughout the 1960’s, and in 1963 he won both The Masters and the PGA Championship. At the tender age of 23 Nicklaus was, at the time, the youngest winner of The Masters. Once he transitioned to the Seniors Tour, Nicklaus continued his winning ways, winning all four majors on the Seniors Tour.
Of all his victories, perhaps the most memorable was his performance at the 1986 Masters. At the age of 46 he was hardly fancied to take the green jacket. Going into the back nine on the final Sunday he trailed the lead by four shots. Over the next few hours Nicklaus’ conjured up the impossible, birdying the 9th, 10th, 11th and 13th. An eagle came next at the 15th and two further birdies at the 16th and 17th. This is widely recognised as one of the best back nines in the history of the sport and resulted in a sixth green jacket for the Golden Bear.
At the conclusion of his career Nicklaus had accumulated a quite astonishing 73 PGA Tour titles, in addition to leading the PGA Tour money list on eight different occasions.
Today, Nicklaus has carved out a successful career for himself as a golf course designer. Indeed, so prolific is his business, it’s estimated that 1% of all courses around the world have been designed by Nicklaus. He hosts his own tournament on The PGA Tour – The Memorial Golf Tournament and has a number of business ventures.
Jack Nicklaus is the most successful golfer of all time. Such is the character and success of the man that it can be argued that he is not just the most successful golfer of all time but the most successful sportsman of all time.