Jack William Nicklaus (born January 21, 1940 in Columbus, Ohio), also known as "The Golden Bear", was a major force in professional golf from the 1960s to the late 1990s, and is regarded as the greatest golfer of all time.
Together with Arnold Palmer, he is credited with turning golf into the major spectator sport it has become. While Palmer brought golf into the TV era, it was the developing Nicklaus-Palmer rivalry that drove subsequent interest.
Nicklaus took up golf at the age of ten, shooting 51 for his first nine holes. He won the first of six Ohio State Junior titles at the age of twelve. While attending Ohio State University he won the U.S. Amateur title twice (1959, 1961) and an NCAA Championship (1961).
Nicklaus began his professional career in 1962 and his record of eighteen wins in major tournaments is as yet unmatched: three Open Championships, four U.S. Opens, five PGA Championships, and six Masters. He is one of only five golfers to win all four current majors in a career, and the first of only two (the other being Tiger Woods) to have won all four majors more than once. In 1986, he became the oldest player to ever win The Masters. In all, he had 48 top-3 finishes in majors, including 19 second places and nine thirds, 56 top-5 finishes and 73 top-10 finishes.
Nicklaus's six wins at the Masters came in 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975 and 1986. His win tally is a record and he was also runner-up four times. In the 1970s he finished in the top ten every year. He appeared in the event 45 times and made the cut 37 times.In 1998, at the age of 58 he finished an impressive sixth.
He won the U.S. Open in 1962, 1967, 1972 and 1980, and is tied with Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and Willie Anderson for most wins. He is the only player to win the title in three different decades, and also had four runner-up finishes in his 42 appearances. He made the cut 35 times.
Nicklaus won the British Open in 1966, 1970, 1978, and was runner-up seven times. He made the cut in 32 out of 38 appearances, and from 1966 to 1980 he never finished worse than sixth.
His five wins at the PGA Championship came in 1963, 1971, 1973, 1975 and 1980. He is tied with Walter Hagen for most wins. He made the cut 27 times in 37 finishes and was runner-up four times. His 1971 victory made him the first player to win the career Grand Slam twice, an achievement which was matched by Tiger Woods at the 2005 British Open.
He is second to Sam Snead on the all-time chart of players with most PGA Tour wins, having accumulated seventy-three titles. In seventeen consecutive seasons from 1962 to 1978 he always won at least one PGA Tour title and always finished in the top ten on the money list. He topped the PGA Tour money list eight times: 1964, 1965, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976.
In 1996, Nicklaus was the first person in the history of the PGA to win the same Senior PGA Tour (now the Champions Tour) event four times. He is the only person in the history of the PGA to win all of the major championships on both the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour. (Although he never won the Senior British Open, it was not recognized as a major in the United States until 2003, after he had stopped playing the Champions Tour.) He never played a full schedule on the Champions Tour, but he won ten Champions Tour events, including eight majors.
In 1978, he received Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award. In 1980 he was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award.
In July 2005, the Royal Bank of Scotland announced that Nicklaus's image would be printed on a special issue of two million £5 notes. Apart from HM The Queen, he is the only living person to be featured on a Scottish banknote .
Jack Nicklaus had an unusual combination of being one of the greatest putters of all time as well as the longest hitter on the tour during his prime. He popularized the "power fade" which was his characteristic ball flight.
Jack Nicklaus was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.
Nicklaus turned 65 in January 2005, which is the last year that he will be joining a PGA tournament as an exempt player. He announced that he would retire from tournament golf in 2005 at The Open Championship at The Old Course at St Andrews. The very fact that the 2005 Open was scheduled at The Old Course can be seen as a tribute to Nicklaus. Several years earlier, the organizers of The Open, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A), had scheduled the 2006 Open for The Old Course. However, aware that Nicklaus' exemption to play in The Open would run out after the 2005 Open, The R&A moved The Old Course up in the rotation one year to give Nicklaus an opportunity to play his last Open there.
He is currently a leading golf course architect, in partnership with his sons and son-in-law through Nicklaus Design, and is personally responsible for well over 200 golf course designs. These include several of the world's leading courses, such as Muirfield Village, Shoal Creek, Castle Pines and the PGA Centenary Course at the Gleneagles Hotel.
Nicklaus also continues to manage the Memorial Golf Tournament he created in his home state of Ohio, which is played on a course he designed and is one of the more prestigious events on the PGA TOUR. His other interests are varied and many, and include a golf equipment company and golf academies. There is a Jack Nicklaus Museum on the campus of Ohio State University in his home town of Columbus, Ohio. 
Nicklaus played without much preparation in April 2005 at The Masters, a month after the drowning death of his 17-month-old grandson Jake (child of his son, Steve) on March 1, 2005. He and Steve played golf as therapy for their grief following the death. After days of playing, it was Steve who suggested his dad return to The Masters. He made that his last appearance in the tournament.
Nicklaus finished his career at St. Andrews on July 15, 2005. He played with Luke Donald and Tom Watson in his final round. On the 18th hole, Nicklaus finished his career with a bang by putting a birdie. He finished the round at even par and missed the cut at score of +3. After hitting the final tee-shot of his career, he strolled to the Swilcan bridge on the 18th and waved to the crowd (who gave a ten-minute standing ovation) before posing for commemorative photographs with his son and caddy, Steve, as well as Donald and Watson.
PGA Tour wins
- 1962 U.S. Open, Seattle World's Fair Open Invitational, Portland Open Invitational
- 1963 Palm Springs Golf Classic, The Masters, Tournament of Champions, PGA Championship, Sahara Invitational
- 1964 Phoenix Open Invitational, Tournament of Champions, Whitemarsh Open Invitational, Portland Open Invitational
- 1965 The Masters, Memphis Open Invitational, Thunderbird Classic, Philadelphia Golf Classic, Portland Open Invitational
- 1966 The Masters, The Open Championship, Sahara Invitational
- 1967 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am, U.S. Open, Western Open, Westchester Classic, Sahara Invitational
- 1968 Western Open, American Golf Classic
- 1969 Andy Williams-San Diego Open, Sahara Invitational, Kaiser International Open Invitational
- 1970 Byron Nelson Golf Classic, The Open Championship, National Four-Ball Championship
- 1971 PGA Championship, Tournament of Champions, Byron Nelson Golf Classic, National Team Championship, Walt Disney World Open Invitational
- 1972 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am, Doral-Eastern Open, The Masters, U.S. Open, Westchester Classic, U.S. Professional Match Play Championship, Walt Disney World Open Invitational
- 1973 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am, Greater New Orleans Open, Tournament of Champions, Atlanta Classic, PGA Championship, Ohio Kings Island Open, Walt Disney World Golf Classic
- 1974 Hawaiian Open, Tournament Players Championship
- 1975 Doral-Eastern Open, Sea Pines Heritage Classic, The Masters, PGA Championship, World Open Golf Championship
- 1976 Tournament Players Championship, World Series of Golf
- 1977 Jackie Gleason-Inverrary Classic, MONY Tournament of Champions, The Memorial Tournament
- 1978 Jackie Gleason-Inverrary Classic, Tournament Players Championship, The Open Championship, IVB-Philadelphia Golf Classic
- 1980 U.S. Open, PGA Championship
- 1982 Colonial National Invitation
- 1984 The Memorial Tournament
- 1986 The Masters
Majors are shown in bold.
Senior PGA Tour wins
- 1990 The Tradition at Desert Mountain, Mazda SENIOR TOURNAMENT PLAYERS Championship
- 1991 The Tradition at Desert Mountain, PGA Seniors' Championship, U.S. Senior Open
- 1993 U.S. Senior Open
- 1994 Mercedes Championships
- 1995 The Tradition
- 1996 GTE Suncoast Classic, The Tradition
Senior majors are shown in bold.
- 1959 U.S. Amateur Championship
- 1961 U.S. Amateur Championship, NCAA Championship (individual)
- 1962 World Series of Golf (U.S. - not then a PGA Tour event)
- 1963 World Series of Golf (U.S. - not then a PGA Tour event), Canada Cup (team event with Arnold Palmer and individual event)
- 1964 Australian Open, Canada Cup (team event with Arnold Palmer and individual event)
- 1966 PGA Team Championship (with Arnold Palmer), Canada Cup (team only, with Arnold Palmer)
- 1967 World Series of Golf (U.S. - not then a PGA Tour event), World Cup (with Arnold Palmer)
- 1968 Australian Open
- 1970 World Series of Golf (U.S. - not then a PGA Tour event), Piccadilly World Match Play Championship
- 1971 Australian Open, World Cup (team event with Arnold Palmer and individual event)
- 1973 World Cup (with Johnny Miller)
- 1975 Australian Open
- 1976 Australian Open
- 1978 Australian Open
- 1983 Chrysler Team Championship (with Johnny Miller)
- 1991 Senior Skins Game
- 1999 Wendy's Three-Tour Challenge (with Tom Watson and Hale Irwin), Office Depot Father-Son Challenge (with Gary Nicklaus), Diners Club Matches (with Tom Watson)
- 2000 Hyundai Team Matches (with Tom Watson)
Results in major championships
|The Open Championship||DNP||DNP||DNP|
|The Open Championship||DNP||DNP||T32||3||2||T12||1||2||T2||T6|
|The Open Championship||1||T5||2||4||3||T3||T2||2||1||T2|
|The Open Championship||T4||T23||T10||T29||T31||CUT||T46||T72||T25||T30|
|The Open Championship||T63||T44||CUT||CUT||CUT||T79||T44||60||DNP||DNP|
|The Open Championship||CUT||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||CUT|
DNP = did not play
WD = withdrew due to injury
CUT = missed the half way cut
"T" indicates a tied for a place.
- Golfers with most PGA Tour wins
- Golfers with most major championship wins
- Golfers with most Champions Tour major championship wins
- Nicklaus.com Official site and portal to other official Nicklaus-related websites
- nicklauSite - fansite
- Profile on PGA Tour official site
- Jack Nicklaus at Golf Stars Online Links to relevant sites, interviews, feature articles and similar.
- Jack Nicklaus Profile, trivia, quotes and other resources from About.com.
- Details of the Jack Nicklaus RBS £5 note (PDF file).