Like many of my generation, the 1986 Masters is the event that made me a golf fan, and a Jack Nicklaus fan for life. Quite simply, I liked his style. Not for what he wore, but for how he carried himself.
As it is with any top athlete, Nicklaus' style certainly came from the confidence he had in himself under pressure. But with Nicklaus, there was much more to it than that. I may not have been able to put my finger on it at the time, but the Nicklaus style I most admired and wanted to emulate came from the respect he had for his opponent, his wonderful sense of sportsmanship.
1965 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia (jacksmajors.com | Spitzmiller)To an impressionable youth, it seem that though he wanted to win, he also wanted to win when his opponent was at the top of his game. Your best against my best. That's what looked like the most fun.
Nicklaus' intensity made it apparent he was driven to win, but he wasn't prone to over the top histrionics, save for a putter thrown skyward upon winning the 1970 Open Championship, his first major win after the passing of his father. Always a gracious winner, Nicklaus was also a respectful loser who was able to sincerely congratulate his fellow competitor in defeat even though he might not have felt like doing so at the time.
Perhaps my history is revisionist and rose-colored, but when it comes to the personification of the term sportsmanship, I'll always think Nicklaus first. That's why when 'Jack's Majors' filtered through CNG's social media stream this morning, not only did it need to be shared, this post was warranted.
On offer today comes a limited edition portfolio of paintings and prose commemorating Nicklaus' 18 major golf championship wins. The book contains original artwork by famed sporting artist Walt Spitzmiller and would surely be an ultimate keepsake for Nicklaus admirers.
Signed by the artist and Jack Nicklaus himself, only 100 copies of this book are available. To obtain your hand bound, numbered copy of this portfolio (price unlisted), email firstname.lastname@example.org.