Few individuals define a time or personify an idea. Through his legendary athletic achievements, extraordinary business accomplishments and, most important, his civic and charitable efforts on behalf of children’s health, Jack Nicklaus does both.
Jack’s professional golf career seemed to span the American century. When you think of seminal moments in 20th Century sport, when one individual captured the nation’s imagination and lifted its spirit, you think of Mickey Mantle’s power, Arthur Ashe’s grace, Johnny Unitas’ precision, and Bill Russell’s resolve.
Above them all, you think of Jack Nicklaus, his fierce concentration, and his unyielding will to win. During a span of more than 25 years, he won a record 18 career major championships while producing 19 second-place and 9 third-place finishes.
In the midst of his competitive golf career, Jack entered the design profession, and went on to create one of the world’s leading golf course design companies, developing more than 400 golf landscapes in 41 countries, rendering him among the most respected designers in the history of the game.
But perhaps the chief reason Jack Nicklaus is recognized and revered around the globe is the work that he and his wife, Barbara, do in the field of pediatric health care. The Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital are leaders in supporting innovative programs focused on diagnosis, treatment and prevention of childhood illness.
Among his many honors, Jack Nicklaus has received both the Congressional Gold Medal from the United States Congress, and the Abraham Lincoln Medal from Washington’s Ford’s Theater. Throughout history Jack, Lady Bird Johnson, and Elie Weisel are the only individuals to have received both of these high honors.
Jack, Barbara and their family define a time of American exceptionalism. And Jack’s life personifies the uniquely American idea that the family is parent of the nation, and service to one is service to both.