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Jack Nicklaus Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the life of retired professional golfer Jack Nicklaus.


Birth date: January 21, 1940

Birth place: Columbus, Ohio

Birth name: Jack William Nicklaus

Father: Louis Charles Nicklaus Jr., a pharmacist

Mother: Helen (Schoener) Nicklaus

Marriage: Barbara Jean (Bash) Nicklaus (July 23, 1960-present)

Children: Michael, July 24, 1973; Gary, January 15, 1969; Nancy, May 5, 1965; Steve, April 11,1963; Jack II, September 23, 1961

Education: Attended The Ohio State University, 1957-1961

Other Facts

Nicknamed “Golden Bear.”

Began playing golf at age 10.

Has won 18 professional major championships: six Masters, five PGA Championships, four US Opens and three British Opens. Additionally, Nicklaus has won two US Amateur Championships.

Founded and formerly served as chairman and CEO of Nicklaus Companies, which includes a successful golf course design business.


1956 – Wins the Ohio State Open golf tournament at age 16.

1959 and 1961 – Wins the US Amateur Championship.

January 1962 – First professional start at the Los Angeles Open.

June 1962 – First professional win, defeating Arnold Palmer at the US Open.

1962, 1967, 1972 and 1980 – Wins the US Open.

1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975 and 1986 – Wins the Masters.

1963, 1971, 1973, 1975 and 1980 – Wins the PGA Championship.

1966, 1970 and 1978 – Wins the British Open.

1967, 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1976 – Named PGA Player of the Year.

1974 – Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

1991 and 1993 – Wins the US Senior Open.

1997 – “Jack Nicklaus: My Story,” written with Ken Bowden, is published.

1999 – Named Sports Illustrated’s best individual male athlete of the 20th century.

2001 – Is awarded the ESPY Lifetime Achievement Award.

2002 – The Jack Nicklaus Museum opens on the campus of The Ohio State University.

2004 – The Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation is formed.

2005 – Retires from tournament competition.

2005 – Is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

2006 – Is inducted into the PGA Professional Hall of Fame.

March 24, 2015 – Honored with the Congressional Gold Medal.

December 2015 – Nicklaus receives Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.

February 18, 2016 – Undergoes experimental stem cell therapy to help with debilitating back pain.

July 19, 2020 – Nicklaus reveals that he and his wife both tested positive for the Covid-19 virus on March 13 and stayed at their home in North Palm Beach, Florida, until they recovered on April 20.

May 13, 2022 – Nicklaus and GBI Investors Inc., of which he is a principle, are sued by Nicklaus Companies in New York Supreme Court. The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, tortious interference and breach of fiduciary duty.

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