The general consensus seems to be that, at the rate he is going, Tiger Woods is destined to be the greatest golfer of all time before his career is over. That may be true. But he has a ways to go before he can catch the current holder of that title, “The Golden Bear" Jack Nicklaus.
Nicklaus has been a dominant force in golf for four decades, first on the PGA Tour from the 1960s to the mid-to-late 1980s, then on the Champions Tour from the late 1980s to the 1990s. His name is forever linked to that of another great golfer, Arnold Palmer, because together, they ushered in the renaissance of golf. The Palmer-Nicklaus rivalry was so compelling that it made golf a popular TV sport for the first time and spurred interest in the game all across America.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, Nicklaus took up golf at the age of ten and shot a remarkable 51 for his first nine holes. He was breaking 70 by the time he was 13 and he had already won his first championship by then. At the age of 12, Nicklaus won the first of six Ohio State Junior titles. As a student at Ohio State University, Nicklaus won the U. S. Amateur title twice (1959, 1961), an NCAA Championship (1961) and nearly won the US Open (1960), finishing second by two strokes to Palmer, who won the tournament with a final round 65.
In 1962, Nicklaus turned pro and compiled an astounding record of 18 wins in major tournaments (three Open Championships, four U. S. Opens, five PGA Championships, and six Masters) that is still unmatched. He is one of only five golfers to win all four golf majors (the “Career Grand Slam"). He was the first player to have won all four majors more than once, with Tiger Woods as the only other player to achieve that feat. Nicklaus is still the only golfer to have won all four majors at least three times. Even in the twilight to his career, at age 46, Nicklaus won The Masters in 1986 to become the oldest player to ever win the tournament. Overall, in major golf tournaments, Nicklaus has finished in the “top three" 48 times (including 19 second-place finishes and nine third-places), finished in the “top five" 56 times, and finished in the “top 10" 73 times.
Tiger may one day be the greatest of them all, but for now, only Nicklaus has passed the toughest test of all -the test of time.
Jonathon Hardcastle writes articles on many topics including Golf , Sports , and Recreation