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The Open For The Ages

Jack Nicklaus


Profile of the Champion

Jack Nicklaus The Open For The Ages

After a titanic tussle with some of the greatest to ever play the game, Jack Nicklaus emerged triumphant in The Open For The Ages.

In a thrilling finale, Nicklaus held off the challenge of Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Sir Nick Faldo and Tom Watson to win the special celebratory edition of The Open.

A bogey free-final round 68 proved just enough for Nicklaus as he finished at 16 under par to beat Woods by a single stroke.

We take a look at the career of the Champion in The Open For The Ages, in association with HSBC.

A Golden Career for The Golden Bear

Nicklaus is one of the most successful golfers of all time, and has the best record at St Andrews in the modern era. From 1966 to 1980, Nicklaus finished in the top six every year at The Open Championship, winning three times, including two victories at the Old Course.

In 1964, Nicklaus, playing in his third Open Championship at the age of 24, finished as runner-up to Tony Lema at St Andrews.

Just two years later, Nicklaus won his first Open at Muirfield, before following it up with two straight second-placed finishes at golf’s original major. Returning to St Andrews in 1970, he claimed his second Claret Jug in dramatic style, beating his fellow countryman Doug Sanders in an 18-hole play-off.

It was then that Nicklaus, already an eight-time major champion, began a stunning stretch of results in golf's biggest events. Between the Open Championships of 1970 and 1978, Nicklaus arguably played the most consistent golf ever seen at the highest level. In 33 consecutive major appearances, he registered 31 top-10s, finishing T11 and T13 in the other two outings.

He finished off that stretch with a win, claiming his 14th major, third Claret Jug and second triumph at St Andrews.

In Nicklaus’ incredible career, he finished as the runner-up in 19 major championships in addition to his 18 wins, including seven second-place positions in golf’s original major.

Nicklaus was 44 when The Open next returned to The Old Course in 1984, finishing T31, and impressively made the cut in 1990 and 1995, despite being 55 in the latter appearance.

In 2000, Jack had appeared to play his last Open Championship, but The Golden Bear returned to St Andrews once more to end his major championship career.

The then-65-year-old signed off with a birdie in 2005, signalling a fitting end to a glorious career at The Open.

Jack Nicklaus following his Open win at St Andrews in 1978