No name is more synonymous with greatness in the sport of golf than Jack Nicklaus.
In November 2005, Jack was honoured by President Bush at the White House with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honour given to any U.S. civilian.
Born 21st January 1940 in Columbus Ohio, Jack’s competitive career spanned five decades, and his legend has been built with 118 professional tournament victories worldwide and a record 18 professional major-championship titles - six Masters, five PGA Championships, four U.S. Opens, three British Opens. He is one of only five golfers to have won all four of golf's modern majors, an achievement often referred to as the career “Grand Slam.” Jack remains the only player to have achieved this on both the regular and senior tours. His eight majors on the senior circuit, now called the Champions Tour, remains a record.
He played in six winning US Ryder Cup teams and captained two other Ryder Cup teams. The tied match of 1969 at Royal Birkdale is remembered for one of the greatest sporting concessions ever. At the final hole of the final singles match Jack holed a putt of about 8 feet. Tony Jacklin had a putt of about two and a half feet, not a long putt, but with the destiny of the cup resting on it and it was miss-able. Jack picked his ball out of the hole and immediately picked up Tony's marker. Jack's action denied the USA an outright win: this was not popular with all his team mates, however it was in the true spirit of Samuel Ryder!
It was after the 1977 match (another US victory) that Jack voiced his thoughts on the future of the competition. He put forward a number of ideas, such as US versus The World or just the English speaking countries. These suggestions were falling on deaf ears; he had already approached Lord Derby, President of the British PGA in 1977. Jack confirmed his thoughts in a letter to Lord Derby and this was the catalyst which eventually led to the competition becoming Europe versus the USA. From the moment European players took part it became a true competition, to this day most of the matches have been very close.
Jack was also the “Global Ambassador,” along with women’s golf legend Annika Sorenstam, for golf’s unified campaign to gain inclusion into the Olympic Games, a goal realized on 9th October 2009, when the International Olympic Committee voted to add golf to the 2016 Olympic Programme. He and Sorenstam have offered to collaborate on the design of the Olympic golf venue for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and are among the eight finalists for that prestigious appointment.
Jack and his wife Barbara have a long history of involvement in numerous charitable activities, from junior golf to children’s hospitals and several scholarship foundations. Jack and Barbara are the guiding light for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which supports paediatric health-care services in South Florida, as well as nationally, and has raised $15 million in less than six years.
Residing in North Palm Beach, Florida since 1965, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus are parents to five children and grandparents to 22.
Without doubt Jack is the greatest golfer of all time, however there is more to Jack then being an accumulator of golfing victories. It is in the way he has conducted himself both on and off the golf course, ruthless in pressing home an advantage. That is in the nature of all winners, both in sport or business. What sets him apart from many is the respect he has for others in all walks of life. Here lies true greatness.