Throughout history, mankind has been forced to work diligently for his survival. As time progressed, however, and his methods for survival improved, he had more time for entertainment. One of his chief forms of entertainment took the form of sports. Golf is one of the myriad of sports entertainment that several of individuals strive to become successful, phenomenal, and unforgotten. Jack Nicklaus, Bryon Nelson, and Tiger Woods embody the professionalism of golf not only on the course but also in their personal lives.
Jack Nicklaus was born in Columbus, Ohio and born January 21, 1940 (Tappin 66). It was evident from an early age that Jack Nicklaus had a special talent for the game. He was introduced to golf by his father at the age of ten. He quickly got the hang of the game by a guy named Jack Grout, the professional at Scioto Country Club in Ohio. By the age of 16, Nicklaus was winning state amateur titles and was good enough to earn a place in the field for the US Amateur (Tappin 67). Through all of Jack’s success as a teen, he turned professional in 1962 (Tappin 66).
Nicklaus’s foundation laid by a relatively long and successful amateur career paid off during his first year in the paid ranks as he won the US Open at Oakmont. Nicklaus also won the US Opens in 1967, 1972, and 1980. Arnold Palmer was the best player in the world at the time and the crowd adored his dynamic gameplan and easy-going character (Tappin 67). Nicklaus and Palmer went head-to-head in a playoff for the 1962 US Open. It was obvious who everybody was rooting for, but Nicklaus confirmed his hype, beating Palmer by three shots. Through the 60’s and 70’s, Nicklaus consistently challenged for and won major honors.
He captured the 1966 Open at Muirfield, he became only the fourth man to complete a Grand Slam (Tappin 67-68). Nicklaus’s career at the highest level continued well into the next decade too, his fifth and final Green Jacket arriving in 1986. Nicklaus as a forty-six year old was still a threat when the biggest prizes were on offer. By making one of his trademarks final round charges he accelerated past Greg Norman and Tom Kife to win by a single shot. A career filled with many magnificent successes, it might seem strange to focus on his failures. Tappin 68) Jack’s failures provide an interesting insight into the character of Jack Nicklaus. After losing an epic battle with Tom Watson in the sunshine at Turnberry during the 1977 Open, Nicklaus walked off the final green with his arm around his opponent, offering his congratulations. By the end of his career, Jack Nicklaus had completed the Grand Slam three times over. Regardless of his considerable achievements off the course, Nicklaus will forever be remembered for a breathtaking game that simply bore no sign of weakness. (Tappin 69) Additionally, Bryon Nelson was born February 4, 1912 near Waxachte Texas.
Bryon spent his early years living in a small cotton farm in several small Texas towns. Nelson was a hardworking kid; he was so hardworking he cold his family’s garden produce, plus eggs, and milk. He loved being busy. Nelson started to learn how to caddie when he was twelve years old. Bryon loved the game of golf from the first time he got to swing a club. He was an alright kid in school during an age when schooling wasn’t as important as it is in today’s time. He grew up in a neighborhood where very few folks had much in the way of material goods.
Born in 1912, he reached his teenage years just before the Depression. The Depression pulled him much more strongly toward the game he loved, even though there seemed no future to it then (Nelson 1). Bryon was winning one amateur tournament after another. By the time he was twenty, the young man with the strong jaw and keen eyesight had the first job as a club professional at Texarkana. In fact, Texarkana was where Bryon had actually turned professional a few months before. On November 22, 1932, he rode a bus from Fort Worth to play in a small tournament for $500.
He finished third and won $75, which was the most money he has ever held in his whole life. (Nelson 1) His debut season on Tour was a bitter disappointment. The success he craved never materialized and for a brief period Nelson sought an alternative career away from the golf course and into the oil business. When the dust settled on his frustrating starts as a tourney golfer, he devoted himself to the game. In 1934 some respectable finishes boosted his finances and secured him a job as an assistant at Ridgewood Club in New Jersey.
Nelson’s breakthrough year on Tour came in 1936; he finished ninth on the money list and (Tappin 63) captured his first significant title, the Metropolitan Open (Tappin 64). Nelson won the first of his five major titles in 1937 at the age of 26. Further US Tour victories followed in 1938 but Nelson was at ill ease with his own game. He believed that to build on this early success his rather loose technique needed tightening (Tappin 64). He won his only US Open title in 1939 (Tappin 64) Between 1939 and 1945, many of the world’s top golfers including Sam Snead and Ben Hogan were involved in Military services.
Nelson got diagnosed with hemophilia and was exempt from fighting the armed forces (Tappin 65). For a few months in 1945, Bryon Nelson played better than anyone ever has. That year Lord Bryon won 11 straight tournaments in a row, including the PGA Championship. For his career, he was the games greatest gentlemen (Doster 1). -Looking closely at his upbringing it was easily appeared that Tiger Woods was destined to become a top-flight golfer. As early as six months, old Tiger was mimicking his father’s golf swing. The critical influence in Tigers early attraction to the game was undoubtedly his father.
As a junior, Tigers phenomenal talent was clear from the start. He became the youngest ever winner of the US Junior Championship and he was only 15 at the time (Tappin 123). Tiger was good enough to warrant a place in his first professional event, the Nissan Los Angeles Open. In 1994 he enrolled at Stanford University where his game developed under a structured coaching regime. Competing his game at the University enabled Woods to pit his game against many of the world’s best amateurs (Tappin 123). Woods won 10 collegiate events and earned a place in the 1995 Walker Cup (Tappin 123).
After capturing his third consecutive US Amateur title in 1996, it was clear that having conquered the amateur world Tiger Woods was ready for life on Tour (Tappin 123). He turned professional in 1996 (Tappin 122). His decision to turn pro in August 1996 left just seven events to secure his playing privileges the following year (Tappin 124). In April 1997, Woods began a trajectory that led him directly to the top of the list. It so dominated the most storied and tradtion steeped tournament in golf that changed the sport forever (Doster 1).
At the age of 21, he became the youngest ever Masters Champion and his staggering 12-shot winning margin was a new record. It was a performance built on power and control, proving that Woods was a cut above the best player on the planet (Tappin 124). He quickly added to this success and by mid-June 1997, the world had a new number one golfer, still only 21, Tiger became the youngest man to reach this milestone. His finest season to date however was in 2000. The first of his three major victories arrived at Pebble Beach in the US Open.
He finished the even on 12-under par, which no other player managed to break into red figures (Tappin 124). For Tiger Woods to be universally recognized as the greatest golfer to have lived, he will have to surpass Jack Nicklaus record of 18 major victories. This remains the only milestone of any series significance untouched by a man whose phenomenal natural, talent, physical might, and psychological strength has swept his peers mercilessly aside. The world now waits with baited breathe to see just how far Tiger Woods can go (Tappin 123).