On Nov. 7, 1961, a 21-year-old Jack Nicklaus wrote a heartfelt letter to the USGA to declare that he was turning professional.
The Golden Bear’s official twitter account tweeted the letter today, and it’s a fantastic read, especially knowing what we do now—that Nicklaus would win a record 18 major titles, compile 73 PGA Tour wins and be considered by most the greatest golfer of all time.
Yet, despite his success, his first sentence proves he was reluctant to turn pro. He opens his letter by saying: “It is with mixed emotions and considerable thought that I am writing this letter to you of my intentions to apply for membership in the Professional Golf Association.”
Nicklaus said that “due to the several sources of income available to me at the professional level” it would have been unfair to his family to not consider turning professional.
He also admitted he had several regrets with joining the Tour. One was not being eligible to defend his USGA Amateur title the following year in 1962.
Nicklaus ends the letter with this sentence: “In closing I want to say that writing this letter has not been a pleasant chore. Many thanks for your past kindnesses and favors.”
You can read the letter in its entirety in the tweet below.