Joined The Augusta Chronicle in 1996 after spending nine years at The Aiken Standard. Served as copy editor, South Carolina bureau chief and Metro Editor before being named Sports Editor in April 2000.
Posted January 21, 2013 10:36 am

Happy Birthday, Jack Nicklaus

Golf's all-time greatest player celebrates a birthday today.

Jack Nicklaus is 73. It's not a milestone birthday or a round number, and in golf terms it's not even a good score for a player of the Golden Bear's caliber.

But after a week of weird (Manti Te'o and his fake girlfriend), disappointing (Lance Armstrong's interviews with Oprah) and sad (deaths of baseball legends Stan Musial and Earl Weaver) news in sports, let's start this week off on a positive note.

Nicklaus won the Masters six times as part of his record 18 professional major championships. It is Augusta National where Nicklaus's career is most intertwined, and this year's Masters will mark the 50th anniversary of his first triumph there.

Last month Nicklaus fielded questions on a conference call about the upcoming milestone. Here are some selected comments about each of his six Masters wins:

1963: "Being my first Masters win it was very, very special. My father and his gang was there. Only Masters that I think (wife) Barbara has missed. She delivered Steve on Thursday following it."

1965: (Nicklaus shot 64 to tie 18-hole record and set tournament record with 17-under-par 271.) "Setting record was special. Probably easiest 64 I shot in my life. Seemed like it was a piece of cake. Every hole was driver and 9-iron or wedge, and little short putt. Then you go to the next hole."

1966: "First person to win back to back."

1972: "Probably in prime of my career and set up winning second (major of year, U.S. Open at Pebble Beach)."

1975: "Another prime year. I lost the U.S. Open and British Open by two shots and one shot. Won the other two majors."

1986: "Having not won for a while. Mother and sister were there. (Son) Jackie on the bag."

"Little something about everyone that was always special," Nicklaus said.

Kind of like the Golden Bear himself.