Golf legend Jack Nicklaus’ first Major victory came at the 1962 U.S. Open, defeating another of the sport’s icons, Arnold Palmer, in a playoff at Oakmont County Club. Fittingly on Wednesday, the USGA announced that the medal annually awarded to the winner of the U.S. Open is now renamed in Nicklaus’ honor.
USGA president Glen Nager and executive director Mike Davis presented the gold medal – which dates back to 1895 – to Nicklaus at The Olympic Club, the site of this week’s 112th U.S. Open.
“Jack, I certainly can’t think, and I know I speak on behalf of the entire USGA group, to say there’s just simply not another player whose name is more fitting for the U.S. Open medal, which, by the way, as of today, is known as the Nicklaus Medal forevermore, than you,” Davis said.
The Jack Nicklaus Medal “will incorporate a silhouette of the four time U.S. Open champion in its design and represents a fitting capstone to his U.S. Open legacy,” Nager explained.
Davis then unveiled plans for a Jack Nicklaus Room to be added at the USGA Museum. That museum also features rooms dedicated to Bob Jones, Ben Hogan, Palmer and Mickey Wright.
“Well, kind of neat, isn’t it? Take an old guy and honor him. I think that’s pretty nice,” said Nicklaus, whose record 18 Major championships include four U.S. Open titles. “It’s pretty humbling and meaningful, these honors, both the medal and the museum. I appreciate that. It’s pretty humbling and meaningful, these honors, both the medal and the museum. I appreciate that.”
Nicklaus also won the U.S. Open in 1967, 1792 and 1980. He won The Masters six times.