Gary Nicklaus

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Gary Nicklaus
Personal information
Born (1969-01-15) January 15, 1969 (age 51)
West Palm Beach, Florida
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight175 lb (79 kg; 12.5 st)
Nationality United States
CollegeOhio State University
Turned professional1991
Current tour(s)PGA Tour Champions
Former tour(s)PGA Tour
European Tour
Best results in major championships
Masters TournamentDNP
PGA ChampionshipDNP
U.S. OpenCUT: 1997, 2001
The Open ChampionshipDNP

Gary Nicklaus (born January 15, 1969) is an American professional golfer. He spent three years as a member of the PGA Tour from 2000-2003. After an 11 year stint in the amateurs, Nicklaus returned to pro ranks on PGA Tour Champions in January 2019, 10 days after his 50th birthday. He is best known as the son of golfer Jack Nicklaus.

Amateur and college golf career[edit]

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.[1] At age sixteen, Gary appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated billed as "The Next Nicklaus".[2][3]

Like his father, the younger Nicklaus attended Ohio State University and was an All American on the golf team.

Nicklaus returned to Ohio State to finish his college career in 1991, then won the prestigious Porter Cup and qualified again for the U.S. Amateur.[4] Later that year, he would turn professional.

Professional career[edit]

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,[5] 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.[6] A few weeks later, Nicklaus teamed with his father to win the Father/Son Challenge, a 36-hole tournament played in a scramble format.[7]

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."[8]

But the rest of 2000 did not bring much success for Nicklaus, who finished no higher than 25th in any subsequent tournament. However, 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,[9] 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 Korn Ferry Tour), Nicklaus stopped playing professional golf to focus on the family business.[10]


Nicklaus is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Camden Capital, on the Board of Directors for Nicklaus Brown & Co., Goods & Services, and Nearshore Technology, Co-Chairman of the Children's Healthcare Charity, non-profit organization and primary beneficiary of the Honda Classic, and a government appointed Commissioner of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Later years[edit]

In 2007, Nicklaus was reinstated as an amateur by the United States Golf Association.[10]

On August 20, 2008, a fire in Jupiter, Florida destroyed a home that was being built for Nicklaus.[11]

Nicklaus made one more attempt to qualify for the PGA Tour in 2009 at the age of 40,[12] 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.[1] He shot 4-over-par in the stroke play portion of the event and failed to advance to the match play.

At age 50 he qualified for the PGA Tour Champions for those 50+, who had previous PGA Tour membership.

Playoff record[edit]

PGA Tour playoff record (0–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponent Result
1 2000 BellSouth Classic United States Phil Mickelson Lost to birdie on first extra hole

Results in major championships[edit]

Tournament 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

Note: Nicklaus only played in the U.S. Open.

  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Paige, Woody (August 11, 2012). "Remember Gary Nicklaus? He's Playing in the U.S. Amateur". Denver Post. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  2. ^ "Famous Name Doesn't Faze 'Next Nicklaus'". Chicago Tribune. June 19, 1991. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  3. ^ "The Next Nicklaus". Sports Illustrated. Vol. 62 no. 10. March 11, 1985. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  4. ^ Diaz, Jaime (August 22, 1991). "As Nicklaus Watches, Nicklaus Ties Record". The New York Times. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  5. ^ "Gary Nicklaus joins father in U.S. Open field". Las Vegas Sun. June 3, 1997. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Nicklauses Win Father-Son". CBS News. December 5, 1999. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  8. ^ "Mickelson Needs 1 Playoff Hole". Chicago Tribune. April 3, 2000. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  9. ^ Newberry, Paul (June 12, 2001). "Gary Nicklaus Following in Footsteps at the U.S. Open". Associated Press. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Shedloski, Dave. "Twenty-two years later, Gary Nicklaus returns to Cherry Hills CC and the U.S. Amateur". Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  11. ^ "Fire destroys Gary Nicklaus' home". USA Today. Associated Press. August 20, 2008. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  12. ^ McCabe, Jim (September 15, 2009). "Gary Nicklaus shoots for PGA Tour – again". Golfweek. Retrieved July 21, 2013.

External links[edit]