Jan 21st, 2020
Happy Birthday Jack
The Golden Bear turns 80
Words: GolfPunk Photography: Getty Images
Many happy returns from GolfPunk to arguably the greatest golfer that has lived and who turns 80 today. It may be that Tiger will surpass or equal Jack’s eighteen major titles mark, only time will tell but until then we raise our glasses to the Golden Bear and thank him for all those great memories.
Not only a great golfer but a true gentleman. Who can forget that concession of Tony Jacklin’s putt at the 1969 Ryder Cup a great sporting gesture that encapsulates all that is good in this great game of ours?
“I don't believe you would have missed that but I'd never give you the opportunity in these circumstances.” is Tony Jacklin's recollection of what the great man said to him after conceding a short putt that led to the first tie in Ryder Cup history.
And then there was the ‘Duel in the Sun’ at the Open in 1977. Nicklaus lost that year by a single stroke to Tom Watson. However, what will be remembered more than the incredible golf was the picture of the two greats walking with their arms around each other. Jack was not only a good winner he also was magnanimous in defeat.
After Watson holed his two-foot putt to win Nicklaus put his arm around the shoulder of the new champion and said: “I gave you my best shot, but it wasn't good enough."
Jack would finish second on eighteen other occasions in majors and also third on nine occasions. Add these finished to his eighteen wins and Nicklaus finished in the top three at majors no fewer than forty-six occasions. Who is the greatest golfer?
Jack’s last major came at the grand old age of 46 when he won The Masters for the sixth time. Nicklaus played the back nine in a six-under-par 30, to become the oldest Masters winner in history, a record that still stands.
We could go on and on as there are so many great moments but for now, we will simply raise a glass and toast Jack Nicklaus at 80 – the Greatest Golfer!