The name, Jack Nicklaus, needs very little introduction in the world of golf. He holds the most number of major victories in history with 18 titles and has won 73 times on the PGA TOUR. The 84-year-old is also known as the Golden Bear and has carved his legacy by building and designing numerous golf courses around the world.

He also supports philanthropic and charitable efforts in the U.S, including Play Yellow which encourages fans to wear yellow on Sunday to celebrate his longtime connection with the colour and a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals campaign with the goal to raise funds to help the 10 million kids treated at local children’s hospitals each year. 

While his name is synonymous with the game, below are 10 things that you probably didn’t know about Nicklaus as he gets ready to host 73 stars of the game at this week’s US$20 million Memorial Tournament presented by Workday.

  1. He’s the first living person to appear on a five-pound note that was not a member of the British royal family.
  1. In 2005, President George W. Bush awarded Nicklaus with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
  1. He has been designing courses for over 55 years. His first design was Harbour Town Golf Links, which has hosted a PGA TOUR event since opening in 1969. Nicklaus went on the found a globally renowned design firm, which has designed over 425 courses across 45 countries (this accumulates over 1% of all the courses in the world). He has personally been involved in the design of close to 320 of those courses.”
  1. In college, he planned to become a pharmacist. His father was a pharmacist, operating a chain of drugstores, and his plan was to enter the family business.
  1. On the morning of his wedding (July 23, 1960), Nicklaus played a full round of golf at Scioto Country Club with three of his friends.
  1. His first professional pay cheque came at the 1962 Los Angeles Open and was for $33.33. In that first season as a professional he earned $61,869. That’s $526,447 in today’s money.
  1. A MacGregor Tommy Armour 3 wood was his most reliable club – Nicklaus used the same 3 wood from 1958 to 1995, a 37-year span which included every one of his amateur championship and all 18 victories in majors as a pro. He only had it re-gripped once (in 1983), even though he had his other clubs re-gripped regularly.
  1. He’s colourblind – so the colour of his ball doesn’t really matter.
  1. Jack won his first Open Championship at Muirfield.  He named his golf course in Dublin, OH outside of Columbus and the site of his annual PGA TOUR stop: Muirfield Village. (photo attached)
  1. He played golf with three pennies in his pocket so he would have one to mark his ball, a second one if his opponent needed it, and a third in case he loses the first one. 
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