Jack Nicklaus's major championships: The Masters

Jack Nicklaus won a record six Masters titles.
Neil Leifer/SI

1963 Masters: The old men challenged sharply at Augusta but, in the end, strength and youth conquered as big Jack Nicklaus used his huge drives and near-flawless tactics to become the youngest Masters champion ever. Only one stroke behind Nicklaus was Champagne Tony Lema, a newcomer to the Masters and a bubbly threat to pro golf's best
By Alfred Wright
Thanks to an early Georgia springtime, the Augusta National golf course was at its pink-and-white loveliest last week, with the azaleas and dogwood gaily blooming. It seemed a most inappropriate place to use a bludgeon, yet that is what big, smart Jack Nicklaus did as he became, at 23, the youngest golfer ever to win the most cherished tournament of them all. The blows that made the Masters his were struck on Friday when he shot a 66 that has to rank as one of the finest single rounds ever played at Augusta National. It put the course at his feet and the tournament in his palm, and gave him the edge he needed to coolly survive the last-round histrionics which have become as much a part of the Masters championship as Bobby Jones and the green coats given to the winners. After that 66, nobody really thought Jack Nicklaus could lose the Masters, and that includes Nicklaus himself.Complete article

1965 Masters: By going on a record-smashing spree at the Masters, Jack Nicklaus proves himself a golfer without peer. Suddenly and dramatically he has the galleries behind him and an unlimited future ahead of him
By Alfred Wright
Although he has been in the limelight of professional golf for three years now — and it is a pretty blinding limelight — Jack Nicklaus may still be one of the least understood of major sports celebrities. In the past when concentrating on his work, as great golfers must, he has often worn a scowl that is considered unfriendly and even overly aggressive by those who do not know him. There are some who consider him cocky, although he is really quite deferential for a man of his unusual talents. Only two years ago, the enormous gallery that surrounded the 18th green at the Masters actually cheered when a bogey for Nicklaus was posted on the scoreboard. Nonetheless, Jack Nicklaus won the Masters Tournament in 1963. Last week, under memorable circumstances, he repeated that victory before an equally enormous crowd, but this time they knew and liked him. As he came up the 18th fairway the applause that greeted him must have broken several sound barriers, and every clap of it was heartfelt and sincere. He was, at last, an unforgettable part of Masters history, for he was smashing Ben Hogan's 12-year-old tournament record of 274 by three strokes and had already tied the one-round record of 64. As he removed his floppy white golf hat, a grin as wide as Augusta National's fairways spread across his face. There was no mistaking now that, at 25, Jack Nicklaus not only is the most talented young golfer to come along in 40 years, but one of the most likable as well.Complete article

1966 Masters: Three was a crowd, but the crowd, which had been more of a mob through four high-scoring, hectic days, finally was reduced to just one man. In a three-way playoff Jack Nicklaus proved again that he is master of the Masters
By Alfred Wright
There is no reason to think that 26-year-old Jack Nicklaus won't win every Masters championship from now until the year 2000, but it is unlikely that he will ever have more trouble earning the tournament's hallowed green coat than he did this week at Augusta National Golf Club. After days of lurching in and out of the course's piney woods, being confounded by the invisible breaks in the grain of its greens and bewildered by its strong and shifting winds, Nicklaus triumphed in one of the most unusual Masters ever played. He did it by making up a three-stroke deficit in the last five holes of play to tie Tommy Jacobs and Gay Brewer at 288 on Sunday. Then he took Monday's playoff and the $20,000 purse with a two-under-par 70, beating Jacobs by two strokes and Brewer by eight with a display of the overpowering golf for which he is famous. Complete article

1972 Masters: In winning his fourth Masters, Jack Nicklaus had only two problems—Jack Nicklaus and an annoying infestation of blotchy weed
By Dan Jenkins
Poa annua and poa Jack. It was that kind of a week down in ol' Augusta. Poa annua, honey, been gone for so long, galavantin' around the countryside. Get in that kitchen and fix up those biscuits. Get off those greens you done made slicker 'n Sam Snead's head, and you stop botherin' Jack Nicklaus. And Jack, you come in this house. Land sakes if you're not out there acting like you never been here before. Out there playin' against yourself and the record book and Bobby Jones and all that nonsense instead of just settlin' down and winnin' this old Masters Tournament by 25 or 30 strokes like you supposed to do. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Jack Nicklaus. And Poa annua, you just shut up and get in there with the pans. That's how it was. Poa annua and Jack Nicklaus in the Masters all week long. Poa annua is that weed grass that comes around every four or five years to infest Augusta and turn the Masters greens blotchy. It makes the greens uneven, bumpy, fast, unpredictable, unreadable and it sends the scores soaring higher than Nicklaus' career. And who is Jack Nicklaus? Well, he's more than ever the greatest golfer of our time; for after beating everybody else, last week he proved that he can even beat himself. He must be the toughest opponent he's ever faced. Complete article

1975 Masters: Sweeping aside stiff challenges from Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller, Jack Nicklaus won the Masters for the fifth time
By Dan Jenkins
Yeah, but Manny, we want Bob Red-ford for all three leading men. Okay, Jimmy Caan for Weiskopf, but Red-ford's got to play those two blond guys, Nicklaus and Miller. We call it The Greatest Golf Tournament Ever Played. So people argue. Who'll know? One blond guy makes a putt from here to Encino, and then the other two guys miss putts on the 18th from so close the hole looks as big as Coldwater Canyon. Now the blond guy who wins, Nicklaus, who is already the best there ever was, he marries his one-iron and takes his putter for a mistress. Cut and print. Ciao, baby. There was something about the 1975 Masters that was cinematic from the beginning. The setup was perfect, all of the world's best golfers coming into the thing primed, poised, inspired, eager. And sure enough it began to unfold toward what promised to be a historic climax, one way or another. But no one could possibly imagine that in the final hours it would become so excruciatingly exciting and monumentally meaningful in terms of the characters involved. Complete article

1986 Masters: At 46, Jack Nicklaus won his sixth and most dramatic Masters with a final-round 65 that had all of America cheering for him
By Rick Reilly
That arm. Who could forget that arm? In the roar of roars at the 18th green, from behind a Masters scoreboard glittering with the names of golf's power brokers—BALLESTEROS and WATSON and LANGER and KITE—under the sign that said No. 18, beside the huge black letters that read NICKLAUS, next to a red 9, came the arm that had put that number there, the arm that seconds before had placed a red 8 next to NORMAN, and that arm was pumping furiously. No head, no body, no shoulder, just an arm belonging to the leader-board man, pumping and pumping for pure, wallowing joy. To hell with employee objectivity. Jack Nicklaus had just won the Masters, once again, and that arm just couldn't help itself. If it was Old St. Nick who had delivered the goodies; if it was the Ancient One who had posted that birdie at 17, then parred 18, while Greg Norman had taken out his Fore!-iron and mailed the gallery a souvenir on the same hole; if it was the Olden Bear who had mystically come from five shots and a couple of decades back to hijack the Masters golf tournament, then it was that arm behind the scoreboard that was telling us what it meant. Complete article

More From the Web