January 21 marked Jack Nicklaus’ seventieth birthday. We are very proud of him in Central Ohio. In fact, Nicklaus attended the same school I did, Jones Junior High, about fifteen years before I did. For many years, Jack’s father operated a drug store on Lane Avenue, less than a mile from where I grew up. I’ve only met Jack on one occasion. It was at an Ohio State football game in October 1979. I managed to get his autograph and told him, “Jack, the best is yet to come.” He smiled and replied, “We’ll see.” Seeing as how that conversation took place seven years before Jack’s legendary victory at the Masters in 1986, maybe I was right.
I recently read about a time when Jack Nicklaus and former President Ford played a round of golf with the world’s greatest golfer. No, not Tiger Woods; I’m referring to former President Bill Clinton, who was unquestionably the world’s greatest golfer whenever he signs his own scorecard. President Ford was disgusted when Clinton gave himself an 80, when that was nowhere near what he’d shot. Apparently, Nicklaus shared those sentiments because he commented to Ford, “Yes, 80—with fifty floating mulligans.”