Jack Nicklaus's major championships: The British Open

Peter Robinson
Jack Nicklaus won three British Opens in his career.
1966 British Open: Kilt-high grass lined the fairways and the sun baked the greens, but canny Jack Nicklaus persevered to win the 106th British Open
By Alfred Wright
When Jack Nicklaus approached the 18th green at Muirfield last Saturday afternoon the largest crowd in Scotland's long golfing history let go a roar of acclaim. Instead of responding like the certain winner he seemed to be, Nicklaus gave the appreciative gallery a tentative wave of the hand and a momentary smile, and then lapsed back into a deep frown of concentration. He had only to two-putt from 22 feet to win the 106th British Open, but the 75-year-old Muirfield course had made its impression. All week long it had seemed to submit to one or another of the game's best players, and then had used its knee-high rough and glass-slick greens to nullify their accomplishments. Cautiously, Nicklaus stroked his first putt to within six inches of the hole. He marked his ball—partly as a courtesy to Phil Rodgers, who putted out, and partly out of real concern about this last shot. When the moment arrived, Nicklaus bent over his minuscule putt, and the only sound to be heard was the far-off atonal argument of sea gulls. He tapped it in, of course, for a two-under-par 282 that defeated Doug Sanders and Dave Thomas by a stroke. Then, and only then, did he let himself believe he had finally won the last major golf title to have eluded him. As the applause soared, his smile grew wider and wider, and he kept raising his arms from his sides, like a sleepy man reluctantly doing his morning exercises. But the fearful concentration that Muirfield had exacted from him was going to take a long time to wear off, for once again an historic British golf course had proved to be an historic test of skill. Complete article

1970 British Open: Despite a putting touch that abandoned him at times, Jack Nicklaus hung on to win his second British Open title last week, conquering Doug Sanders in a playoff and St. Andrews' Old Course in a breeze
By Dan Jenkins
Amid the gloomy and yet intoxicating old ruins of the town called St. Andrews and on the golf course that held the first cleat, history and tradition were caned and flogged all last week in a musty thing called the British Open by a cast of modern hustlers and legends. It was as if the Wimpy and the Whippy had come to the Royal and Ancient, along with black-eyed peas and corn bread: as if, for a while, the oldest course were only a stroll through Carnaby Street. While Tony Jacklin shot the heather off the land, Lee Trevino shot down a prime minister. And then while Jack Nicklaus played himself into the immortality of the record books, the lord of night life, Sir Douglas Sanders, played himself back from nowhere and into the hearts of those who savor the three-piece, phone-booth golf swing. It was one of the most thrilling major championships that had been staged in years, one that suffocated in all kinds of atmosphere. It had overtones of America against the world, elements of the best and worst of shotmaking, ghastly pressure, enormous crowds, a buffet of seaside weather, the purity of British humor, the suspense of overtime — all of these things — until it was mercifully concluded by Jack Nicklaus' rendezvous with history. Complete article

1978 British Open: Jack Nicklaus won his third British Open at what has come to be his native heath, Scotland's Royal and Ancient
By Dan Jenkins
As long as a man has to go for a walk on a golf course, there is hardly a better place than straight up the last fairway at St. Andrews, where one is surrounded by 500 years of history and embraced by the buildings of the old town itself. It is especially wonderful if you do it the way Jack Nicklaus does. Nicklaus made the walk again last week with 30,000 warmly sentimental Scots creating enough noise to have drowned out the roar of a squall howling in off the North Sea. The scene, in fact, would have made a nice Christmas card for Jack to send out this year. After all of the crazy things that had gone on for four rounds, involving golfers from a grand assortment of nations, it came down to Nicklaus winning another British Open, another major championship. For those who are counting, it was his third British Open and major victory No. 17, which can now be filed away with the others: the five Masters, the four National PGAs, the three U.S. Opens and the two U.S. Amateurs. Complete article

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