Jack Nicklaus Profile
|Short Name||The Golden Bear|
|Born||Jan 21, 1940|
|Birthplace||Columbus, Ohio, United States|
Jack Nicklaus began his career as something of an ugly duckling of American golf, but by the time he won his 18th and final Major at the age of 46 he was the darling of the sport worldwide.
Widely regarded as the greatest player ever to play the game, Jack Nicklaus won an unprecedented 18 Major Championships in an era of dominance spanning from the early 1960s to mid-1980s.
Nicklaus was born in Columbus, Ohio on January 21, 1940.
He picked up 73 PGA Tour wins, a total that lies third in the all-time rankings behind only Sam Snead and Tiger Woods.
Nicklaus was known for focusing on the Major Championships while being selective in his participation in regular PGA Tour events.
Nicklaus picked up a total of 117 professional wins around the world despite this strategy and it was little surprise when he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.
He is also celebrated for being both an exceptionally honorable competitor in the Ryder Cup (he famously conceded a putt to Tony Jacklin which resulted in the 1969 match being tied) and also key to the match's re-invogoration (he actively supported the inclusion of a European team in place of merely Great Britain and Ireland).
In 2005, while George W. Bush was President of the United States, Nicklaus was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Jack Nicklaus took to golf like a duck to water from very early on. At the age of 10, playing his first nine holes with a card, he shot a 51 at Scioto Country Club.
He also made good on his early promise, winning five straight Ohio State Junior titles, beginning this run at the age of 12.
At 15, Nicklaus shot a round of 66 at Scioto, the then-amateur course record, and qualified for his first ever US Amateur.
His star rose even higher when he won the Ohio Open aged 16 in 1956, with a third-round score of 64 ensuring that he beat the professionals against whom he was competing.
Between the ages of 10 and 17, Nicklaus won a total of 27 events in the Ohio area.
While attending Ohio State University, he won the US Amateur twice (1959 and 1961) and an NCAA Championship in 1961, becoming the first player to win those two titles in the same year.
Nicklaus took the step up to professional golf in 1961 and it did not take long before he wrote his name in golf history.
In fact, he had already turned heads when, in 1960, he finished second in the US Open despite being a 20-year-old yet to join the paid ranks.
He was only two strokes behind the great Arnold Palmer, which set the tone for a rivalry that would continue for years to come and which, in the early years, was somewhat difficult for Nicklaus.
Palmer had a passionate set of fans, known as Arnie's Army, who adored their hero's natural flair and charisma, but had little respect for his new rival's buzzcut, slugger's build and big-hitting.
Major Championship glory
In 1962, Nicklaus confirmed his graduation to the very top level by winning his first US Open. Aged 22, he settled the score with Palmer, beating him in a playoff after shooting a 1-under-par total of 283 over the course of 72 holes.
After this success, it became all but the norm for Nicklaus to win major titles.
After successes in the Masters in 1963 and 1965, and the PGA Championship in 1963, Nicklaus added the last missing major to his trophy cabinet in 1966, landing the British Open.
Between 1968 and 1970, Nicklaus would endure a minor slump by the lofty standards he had set for himself, but he came back in style when he won the British Open in 1970, defeating Doug Sanders in one of the first British Opens covered by color television.
This was the catalyst for further Major successes. Indeed, this sort of fighting spirit and the ability to pull himself up after barren years were very much trademark characteristics of Nicklaus (and Tiger Woods would later display similar traits).
1971 saw Nicklaus win the PGA Championship and the following year included success at the Masters and the US Open.
In 1973, he won his third PGA Championship title, a fourth followed in 1975, the year after he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame and won yet another Masters Green Jacket.
Nicklaus went without a major for three years after that, but when he broke the drought, it was worth the wait.
He had missed out on another Claret Jug at the 'Duel in the Sun' in 1977. It was one of the finest head-to-head clashes in golfing history, typified by an outrageous birdie he made at the 72nd hole, forcing Tom Watson to match him to win the title.
But a year later he atoned for the near-miss and in winning at St. Andrews he became the first player ever to win each Major three times (an achievement later matched by Woods).
Nicklaus did not win a tournament in 1979, but again came back in style the following year, winning a fourth US Open and fifth PGA Championship.
Seven years later he astonished the world and one reporter in particular.
The latter had written, in his 1986 Masters preview, that Nicklaus was past it.
The great man read this and was motivated to turn back the clocks. His back nine at Augusta National that Sunday is one of the most celebrated in history.
He needed just 30 shots to complete an astounding victory: his sixth Masters win, his 18th Major victory, a glorious swansong.
Jack Nicklaus' personal life
Jack Nicklaus has written many books geared towards educating the public on his golfing methods. 'Golf My Way' is considered a classic as far as educational and instructional golfing books go.
Nicklaus is the honorary chairman of the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation in North Palm Beach, Florida. Nicklaus' foundation provides services and programs pro bono to over 4,000 children in hospital, as well as their families, via Child Life programs, the Pediatric Oncology Support Team and the Safe Kids program.
Nicklaus is married to Barbara Nicklaus (nee Bash), having wed in 1960. She is the honorary chairwoman of the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation. To honor their 17-month-old grandson, who tragically drowned in a hot tub in 2005, the Nicklaus family established 'The Jake', an annual pro-am tournament held at The Bear's Club in Jupiter, Florida.
In 2020, Nicklaus endorsed Republican incumbent Donald Trump for the United States presidency ahead of his election fight against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
"I have had the privilege over the last three and a half years to get to know our current President a little more as his term has progressed. I have been very disappointed at what he's had to put up with from many directions, but with that, I have seen a resolve and a determination to do the right thing for our country," Nicklaus said via social media.
"He has delivered on his promises. He's worked for the average person. In my opinion, he has been more diverse than any President I have seen and has tried to help people from all walks of life - equally."
Jack Nicklaus' net worth
The Economic Times estimates Nicklaus' net worth to be around $300million as of 2018.
He was the PGA Tour's leading money winner in eight different years - 1964, 1965, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1976.
Forbes estimates his career earnings to be approximately $1.15billion.
MacGregor Golf was a sponsor of Nicklaus throughout his era of dominance and he used their clubs and balls in every single one of his 18 Major triumphs.
He also had multiple endorsements from companies outside of golf manufacturing.
Nicklaus is known for accumulating wealth by living a modest lifestyle. For example, he has kept the same Rolex watch on his wrist for more than 50 years instead of choosing to upgrade in order to keep up with the latest fashion trends.
"Longevity is something that I think we all strive for. We want to have consistency in our lives," Nicklaus wrote on the Rolex website two years ago.
"I've worn this watch for 51 years, I've been married for 58 years and we've lived in the same house for 48 years. I'm not one for big change, I like consistency. I think this watch has probably seen as much as any watch that's ever been worn by one individual. It's an old friend, a very happy old friend."