Jack Nicklaus owns as large a trophy case as anyone, but the award he received Tuesday transcends his on-course work: the Congressional Gold Medal. United States senators and House representatives presented Nicklaus the award, “in recognition of his many contributions to the game of golf and his service to the community and the nation.”
Nicklaus joined Byron Nelson and Arnold Palmer as the only professional golfers to receive the award and became the seventh professional athlete honored, following Roberto Clemente, Joe Louis, Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson.
“I’m very proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish in my career and in my life,” Nicklaus said during the event. “And you know the good thing about being 75 is that anything I may not likely be proud of was before the Internet was invented.”
Nicklaus has been a proponent for the sport long after winning a record 18 major championships, founding the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation in 2004. Nicklaus received the award one decade after also receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush.