In June 2018, the Golden Bear received the Lincoln Medal from the Ford’s Theatre Society, making Jack Nicklaus just the fourth person in history—and the first athlete or sportsperson—to be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2005), the Congressional Gold Medal (2015) and now the Lincoln Medal.
Jack’s competitive career spanned five decades, and his legend has been built with 120 professional tournament victories worldwide and a record 18 professional major-championship titles (six Masters, five PGA Championships, four U.S. Opens, three British Opens). He is one of only five golfers—Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, and Tiger Woods the others—who have won all four of golf's modern majors, an achievement often referred to as the career “Grand Slam.” Jack remains the only player to have completed the career Grand Slam on both the regular and senior tours. His eight majors on the senior circuit, now called the PGA TOUR Champions, stood as a record from 1996 until 2017.
The legacy Jack has left as a player can be rivaled only by the legacy he is leaving as a golf-course designer, businessman and philanthropist. Jack was voted the 2017 Golf Course Designer of the Year, 2014 Architect of the Year and many more. He was also recognized with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s highest honor, The Old Tom Morris Award. Jack has been involved in the design of over 300 courses open for play worldwide, and his thriving business, Nicklaus Design, has more than 415 courses open for play worldwide, which are represented in 45 countries and 40 states.
Jack and his wife Barbara have a long history of involvement in numerous charitable activities, from junior golf to children’s hospitals to several scholarship foundations. Jack and Barbara are the guiding light for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which supports numerous pediatric health-care services in South Florida, as well as nationally, and has raised almost $100 million since its inception in 2004.
Jack has been involved in the design of more than 290 courses open for play worldwide, and his thriving business, Nicklaus Design, more than 385 courses open for play around the world. Nicklaus Design courses are represented in 39 countries, 39 states, and no fewer than 125 Nicklaus Design courses have hosted over 816 professional tournaments worldwide or significant national amateur championships.
Since 1962, Jack has added the moniker of “businessman” to his lengthy résumé. He is co-chairman of the privately held Nicklaus Companies. For a record six consecutive years (2004–09 ), Golf Inc. magazine ranked Jack “The Most Powerful Person in Golf,” due to his impact on various aspects of the industry through his course design work, marketing and licensing business, his ambassadorial role in promoting and growing the game worldwide, and his involvement on a national and global level with various charitable causes.
Jack and Barbara Nicklaus founded the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation in 2004, in an effort to provide families access to world-class pediatric healthcare. As young parents they pledged to each other that if they were ever in a position to help others, they wanted to help children. The Foundation supports Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and innovative programs focused on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of childhood illness.
Jack and his wife, Barbara, are the guiding light for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which supports numerous pediatric health-care services in South Florida, as well as nationally, and has raised more than $33 million in just 10 years.
- A Conversation With Jack Nicklaus
Fireside chat format moderated conversation.
-Director, Family Business Center, University of St. Thomas