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Jack Nicklaus: The Golden Bears greatest victory -- 30 years on

- By cryptogrammataceae1917
Publish Date : 2021-04-06 16:23:01
Jack Nicklaus: The Golden Bears greatest victory -- 30 years on

It stopped inches short, but allowed Jack Nicklaus to tap in for the clubhouse lead of nine-under par.

And then the wait for the Green Jacket began, with Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros storming up the back nine on seven-under.


Victory was by no means secured but Nicklaus plucked his ball out of the hole, waved his hand and briefly took in the adulation of the hundreds of fans packed tightly around Augusta's 18th green.

What followed is an enduring image for millions of golf fans around the world; Nicklaus embracing his son, and caddie that day, Jack Nicklaus II.

'I turned around and the crowd is just, you know, just embracing Jack Nicklaus for all the things that were going on today and in the past,' Jack Nicklaus II told CNN as he looked back on the 30th anniversary of his father's last major win.

'My dad, I expected him to be turned to the crowd and waving to them -- and there he was, looking just at me.

'I always get emotional about, sorry ...' as a visibly choked up Nicklaus II breaks off briefly. 'But, you know, he made me feel really important at that point.

'It will always mean so much to me because I had his full attention -- I just walked towards him and his arms were out. It's an embrace I will always remember.'

The Golden Bear was 46 years old when he won a record sixth Masters, making him the oldest player ever to win the tournament. It was also the 18th and last major of his illustrious career.

Earlier that sunny April Sunday, the Nicklaus father-son duo had stood on the fairway of the par 5 15th, four shots behind the leader, Ballesteros, and seemingly out of contention for the Green Jacket.

What ensued was four-and-a-half holes of golf that would make their way into the annals of history.

'There are so many great shots that he hit,' Nicklaus II recalls of his father's final round at Augusta in 1986.

'I never really listened to the sound of the four-iron that he hit into 15 for his second shot -- last night I dialed into that and it had an amazing sound.

'It was so solid at impact. If you get a chance, go listen to that. It's an incredible sound.'

Nicklaus Snr. one-putted for eagle to take his score to seven-under par. Suddenly, he was just two shots off the lead.

By the time he took his place at the 16th tee, Nicklaus had shot five-under through the previous seven holes.

'I have to think about the shot he hit into the 16th, you know, where he almost holed it,' Nicklaus II says of his father's near-perfect tee shot on the par three.

Jack Jnr. describes his dad as 'the most humble guy in the world ' but even that shot was good enough to coax a contented grin from Nicklaus' lips.

'He doesn't even approach the word of cockiness, although he's always had confidence,' says Nicklaus II.

'The comment he made there (after the tee shot) was about as cocky a statement that he feels he's ever made. He said it under his breath -- only I could hear it.

'He hit a three-quarter five-iron and I knew he hit it directly where he wanted to, directional-wise. And I just said: 'be right.'

'And my dad was bending over, picking up his tee and he said: 'it is.''

Looking back at the old footage, Nicklaus can be seen giving a wink and a wry smile in his son's direction.

'He stepped back, handed me the club and the face was a face of such confidence,' Nicklaus II says.

'I even commented to my own son last night when we were watching (the documentary). I said look at how confident grandpa looks there.

'He knew what he had to do, he knew how to do it and if you ask him, he'll say: 'I remembered how to do it.''

Nicklaus hadn't won a major since claiming the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in 1980 -- but that killer instinct never left him.

'He hadn't done it for several years and when he got the chance to win, he remembered how to do it.'

Nicklaus' shot was within two inches of a hole-in-one and he swiftly made the putt, drawing yet more noise from the crowd.

His birdie prompted commentator Jim Nantz's famous line: 'And there is no doubt about it, the Bear has come out of hibernation.'

Those present -- and those watching on television at home -- could sense they were witnessing something historic.

Nicklaus famously drained another birdie putt at the 17th hole, before parring the last to finish on nine-under for the tournament.

Meanwhile, Ballesteros' round was imploded. The Spaniard bogeyed the 15th and the 17th holes, eventually finishing his round on seven-under par.

Norman was heading in the other direction, mounting a late charge. Four consecutive birdies saw the Australian tie Nicklaus for the lead with just the final hole to play.

After a perfect tee shot on the 18th, Norman sprayed his approach into the gallery to the right of the green.

'Look out right side, look out gallery!' Nantz exclaimed immediately after Norman hit his four iron.

His chip onto the green left the Australian with a lengthy putt for par to take the competition to a play-off. He missed and two-putted for a bogey, handing the Green Jacket to Nicklaus.

'I think that being the final major he won holds a special place in his heart,' Nicklaus II says.

'How he won it, at the time of his career that he won it. So he might say that '86 was one of his favorites.

'I'll just say this, I didn't have much of a hand in it because, you know, he does his own thing -- but I had the best seat in the house for that one.

'For me, it holds a very special spot.'

READ: You won't believe what Augusta looked like in 1854

READ: The magic and mystery of the Masters


Category : art-culture

Jack Nicklaus: The Golden Bears greatest victory -- 30 years on

Jack Nicklaus: The Golden Bears greatest victory -- 30 years on

- It stopped inches short, but allowed Jack Nicklaus to tap in for the clubhouse lead of nine-under par.<br><br>And then the wait fo