No worries if you missed part 2
it is right here
It's not surprising that despite topping the PGA Money list for the last time in 1963, Arnie's star and brand power would pay much higher dividends than Jack's or any other golfer over the decades, continuing to reap fruits long after Palmer's playing days were over. Palmer picked up his last PGA tour win in 1973, yet in the 1980s his star continued to rise banking at least $5 million annually from endorsement contracts, more than any other athlete in the world until the Michael Jordan advertising slam-dunk finally knocked Palmer down a few pegs in 1991 easily trumping the celebrated golfer's $9 million take that year.
While Palmer was pitchman supreme, on the golf course Jack was, to crib the LL Cool J lyric, something like a phenomenon. His eighteen major victories dwarf Palmer's seven and by the time the seventies rolled round every golf fan from Pebble Beach to Hilton Head was familiar with the infectious ear-to-ear smile that would crease Jack's face whenever he holed one. But more infectious than Jack's smile for the sports obsessed hoi polloi was that he was a winner.
From 1962 to 1986, the brilliant ball striker finessed fairways, deftly plotted out approaches and putted with jitter-less confidence amassing 73 PGA wins including a record eighteen major titles. The epic scope of his career accomplishments in the game of golf could be used either to teach kindergarten math or alternately to re-jig the 12 days of Christmas song for golf fans:
12 years played on the Senior Circuit
11 Jack Nicklaus designed Golf Clubs dot South Carolina
10 Champions Tour titles
9 Jack Nicklaus designed courses in his homestate of Ohio
8 time PGA Tour leading money-winner
7 runner-up finishes at the British Open
5 PGA Championships
4 U.S. Opens
3 British Opens
2 U.S. Amateurs
1 NCAA Championship
Nicklaus' impressive wardrobe of green jackets and his hefty haul of glistening Wanamaker trophies, claret jugs, and other symbols of golfing grandeur alone elevate the golfer into a league of his own. But, to get a true sense of the extent of Nicklaus' leaderboard supremacy in major championships it would be negligent not to note that he also accumulated a record nineteen runner-up finishes. Major Sundays when the golden bear was not in hunt were indeed far and few between.
Part 4 will be posted tomorrow
This Story First Ran in the June 2008 issue of the Bay Street Bull
Copyright © Mike Dojc, 2008