January 15, 1969 |
West Palm Beach, Florida
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight||175 lb (79 kg; 12.5 st)|
|College||Ohio State University|
|Former tour(s)||PGA Tour
|Best results in major championships
|U.S. Open||CUT: 1997, 2001|
|The Open Championship||DNP|
Amateur and college golf career
The fourth of Jack and Barbara Nicklaus's five children, Gary was viewed from a young age as the most likely heir to his father's golfing legacy. He beat his father for the first time when he was fifteen and won many junior tournaments. At age sixteen, Gary appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated billed as "The Next Nicklaus".
Like his father, the younger Nicklaus attended Ohio State University and played on the golf team. However, he never won a collegiate golf tournament. In August 1990, Nicklaus qualified for the U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club near Denver, Colorado. But shortly after arriving for the event, Nicklaus ended up in intensive care. He was diagnosed with pericarditis and missed the tournament.
Over the next eight years, Nicklaus would make numerous failed attempts to qualify for the PGA Tour. He played in 26 PGA Tour events during that time, including the 1997 U.S. Open, but made only two cuts. Nicklaus spent most of his time playing overseas, including the European Tour in 1998, and on mini-tours. Finally, in 1999, Nicklaus made it through the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament on his eighth try. A few weeks later, Nicklaus teamed with his father to win the Father/Son Challenge, a 36-hole tournament played in a scramble format.
Nicklaus started fairly slowly during his first year on the PGA Tour in 2000 but in April he put together three strong rounds at the BellSouth Classic in Atlanta, Georgia and found himself tied for the 54-hole lead with Phil Mickelson. When torrential rains struck on Sunday, leaving much of the course unplayable, Tour officials canceled the final round and called for a sudden-death playoff to determine a champion. On the first hole, a par-three, Mickelson hit the green while Nicklaus left his shot just short in a bunker. It took Nicklaus two more shots to get on the green, while Mickelson sank his birdie putt to win the tournament. Despite his disappointment, Nicklaus was encouraged, saying, "It just lets me know that there are good things coming down the road."
But the rest of 2000 didn't bring much success for Nicklaus, who finished no higher than 25th in any subsequent tournament. Still, the money he earned by finishing runner-up in Atlanta was enough to help him place 119th on the Tour money list and he retained his PGA Tour card.
In 2001, Nicklaus made just 12 cuts in 34 starts, with a best finish of 15th at The Memorial Tournament, an event founded by his father. He also qualified for the U.S. Open, his second appearance in a major tournament, but missed the cut. He placed 184th on the Tour money list and lost his playing privileges.
Forced to return to the qualifying tournament, Nicklaus again earned his card for 2002. But that season saw him make just six cuts in 26 events and it would be his final season on the PGA Tour. After spending 2003 primarily on the Tour's minor-league circuit (now the Web.com Tour), Nicklaus stopped playing professional golf to focus on the family business.
Nicklaus made one more attempt to qualify for the PGA Tour in 2009 at the age of 40, but came up short. He continued to play in amateur events and managed to qualify for the U.S. Amateur in 2012, when the tournament was once again being held at Cherry Hills. He shot 4-over-par in the stroke play portion of the event and failed to advance to the match play.
Results in major championships
Note: The U.S. Open was the only major Nicklaus played in.
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
- Paige, Woody (August 11, 2012). "Remember Gary Nicklaus? He's Playing in the U.S. Amateur". Denver Post. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- "Famous Name Doesn't Faze 'Next Nicklaus'". Chicago Tribune. June 19, 1991. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- "The Next Nicklaus". Sports Illustrated. Vol. 62 no. 10. March 11, 1985. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
- Sherman, Ed (January 19, 2000). "It Took 8 Tries, But Nicklaus' Son Has A Tour Card And Dad Is Pumped To Play". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- Diaz, Jaime (August 22, 1991). "As Nicklaus Watches, Nicklaus Ties Record". The New York Times. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- "Gary Nicklaus joins father in U.S. Open field". Las Vegas Sun. June 3, 1997. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- "Nicklauses Win Father-Son". CBS News. December 5, 1999. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
- "Mickelson Needs 1 Playoff Hole". Chicago Tribune. April 3, 2000. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- Newberry, Paul (June 12, 2001). "Gary Nicklaus Following in Footsteps at the U.S. Open". Associated Press. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
- Shedloski, Dave. "Twenty-two years later, Gary Nicklaus returns to Cherry Hills CC and the U.S. Amateur". Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- "Fire destroys Gary Nicklaus' home". USA Today. Associated Press. August 20, 2008. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
- McCabe, Jim (September 15, 2009). "Gary Nicklaus shoots for PGA Tour – again". Golfweek. Retrieved July 21, 2013.