I love Masters week! SO much great material out there. Below is a 15 minute video interview courtesy of Golf Channel, from the Masters Tournament today. The guests are the “big 3,” Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player.
One of the biggest golfing greats I never got the chance to meet is Bobby Jones. But I did get to meet the best golfer ever a few years ago with my son. We met Jack Nicklaus and got to talk to him for a while. Jack was nothing but nice. I was so nervous I could hardly talk. What a treat that was.
I got Jack to sign a couple of autographs for me. One was on a Masters flag from the 2005 Masters, Jack’s last Masters and where Tiger Woods won. The other autograph was on a St. Andrews flag from the 2005 British Open, Jack’s last official tournament. Coincidentally Tiger won that one too.
I got to see Jack play golf in person three times. One of those times was in a then Senior Tour event where he was paired up with Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino. Lee got in most of the talking…
Happy Birthday Jack
Jack, I wish you the best and a very happy birthday. Thanks for being so nice when my son and I met you. That means a lot and shows the kind of character which I think is lost in some players these days. And thanks for all the great moments in golf history you authored.
I just mentioned the fact that I’m GOING to Augusta for my first time next year in the last post. Last night I invited the 2nd of my three guests, my best golf pal whose name happens to be “Arnie.”
Jack Nicklaus will be joining the other “Arnie,” Mr. Palmer next year at The Masters as honorary starter.
“We are delighted and fortunate to have such a great ambassador and icon of our sport take part in this tradition. He has inspired generations of golfers and having Jack join Arnold on the first tee next April will be a special thrill for his many loyal fans around the world.” ~Masters chairman Billy Payne
Billy is right. Jack has inspired many, including me. I had the pleasure of meeting Jack a few years ago and he was VERY nice and easy to talk to.
“I have always had great respect for Arnold and his legacy at the Masters and I did not, in any way, want to infringe on the opportunity for Arnold to have and enjoy this Masters tradition for himself. He is so deserving of this honor, and thus I felt it was his time, not mine.” ~Jack Nicklaus on Arnold Palmer’s reign as solo starter.
I’ve got a fairly new pal Bob Weaver who just got back from The Masters. His family is from that area and has had badges for The Masters since the 1950’s. He has one pair of original Masters tickets for every year dating clear back to something like 1957. He travels to Augusta every year to attend the tournament. He hinted to me that in two years, I may be privileged enough to go with him. I will be counting the days.
Bob brought me back some Augusta National groceries (from my shopping list) and told me some great nuggets about this years Masters. I’m going through my Masters bag of goodies right now. The bag itself has the Masters logo! I’ll report and post some pics of this, the coolest shopping bag ever.
Bob had me completely in awe as he told me a great story about when he was at the 1986 Masters. You know, that Masters where a certain player won his 6th green jacket? If you don’t know who that certain player is…shame on you. That player is Jack.
Jack Nicklaus’ final Masters victory is always a highlight during Masters week, and throughout the year. They always show his putt on 17 for birdie to put him into the lead. That is only part of the story about 17 according to my friend Bob.
On that Sunday Bob placed himself in the landing area of the tee shots on 17. Jack’s tee shot landed just a few feet from him. The ball’s final resting place was right on a root of an old oak tree. When Jack and Jackie (his caddy and son) got to the ball perched on the root they surveyed the situation. Jack turned to Jackie and asked “what do you think?” Jackie turned to Jack and said “It’s an easy 8 iron for you. It’s a 7 iron for me, but it’s an easy 8 iron for you.”
Jack then took the 8 iron out and picked the ball so cleanly off the root it didn’t even leave a mark. The ball of course landed on the green and spun back to where Jack would make that most famous of Masters putts.
Now you know the rest of the story.