Jack won his first Open Championship at Muirfield in 1966, claiming victory by 2 strokes.
Mr Nicklaus cemented his place alongside Open greats winning his thirds Claret Jug and his second victory at St Andrews.
Jack Nicklaus played his best golf for longer than anyone else. This was true in two senses. In tournaments, and especially the majors, he kept playing his game – precise, conservative, making fewer mistakes than anyone else, hitting glorious long-iron shots, holing the putts that mattered – longer than his rivals could maintain their form.
And he did it over nearly three decades. After winning two US Amateurs, Nicklaus won the 1962 US Open as a 22-year-old in his first year as a professional. He won his record 18th major at the 1986 Masters at the age of 46. He won the Masters six times, the PGA Championship five times, the US Open four times and The Open three times – each time completing a career Grand Slam.
His first Open win did not come until his fifth appearance, at Muirfield in 1966 where long-iron play on a tight course was decisive. When he started his second career as a course designer, he named his pride and joy in his home state of Ohio, Muirfield Village.
He won twice at St Andrews, in 1970 and 1978, something only Bob Martin, JH Taylor, James Braid and Tiger Woods have achieved. He benefitted from Doug Sanders’ famous missed putt in 1970 but won the play-off the next day when he drove through the green.
When he holed the winning putt, he hurled his putter into the air. “I had never shown emotion like that before, it was totally out of character,” he said later. “But then I had never won the oldest golf Championship in the world at the cradle and home of the game.”
Between 1963 and 1980 in The Open, Nicklaus won three times, was second seven times and third three times, and other than finishing 12th one time, was never worse than sixth. An incomparable record.