’86 Masters, Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus was basically considered out of the game at this time. The stage was set for an unforgetable Masters Sunday EVEN WITHOUT JACK–Ballesteros, Watson, Langer, Norman, Kite, Price–so many GREAT players had a chance to win (not like today’s majors!). Nicklaus plays the first nine without making much noise. Ballesteros is in the process of making it a Sunday stroll for the first part of the round. But as we all know, The Masters doesn’t start until the final nine of the 4th day!
Indeed, that is precisely when Jack makes an initial move. Birdies at 10 and 11 get him going. A bogey at 12 would have stopped any other golfer in the field. Not Jack! Birdies at 13 and 14 and an incredible approach to the green at 15 sets up an eagle! This 6 hole stretch would give any tour player an entire career of anecdotes to tell his grandchildren! For Nicklaus, it was just a wake-up call for his fellow competitors.
A majestic iron shot at 16 nearly goes in for an ace. Birdie at 16, 5 under on the back going into 17.
The putt at 17 will go on to produce one of the iconic photos of golf/sports history as he follows his ball into the hole with his putter for sole possesion of the lead: “Yes Sir!”
A mis-club at 18 leaves Jack with a 1,000 ft putt. He needs two putts to take the lead into the clubhouse, a place where it can be protected by the golf gods. No pressure for the Golden Bear as he nearly holes it and all but guarantees his 18th professional major (you know, the one that Tiger so desperately wants!!).
For the next 45 minutes, some of the greatest golfers of all time try to catch Jack who sits comfortably awaiting his 6th green jacket, knowing that he just set another standard that no-one will ever equal–that of The Greatest round ever played in a major!