“Letters from Arnie” – Jack Nicklaus
Editor’s note: Throughout Arnold Palmer’s career, The King was well known for sending letters of praise to other golfers. Many of his notes were mailed to Masters Tournament champions. This week, The Augusta Chronicle will feature seven letters that Palmer wrote to other major championship winners, including Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy and Charl Schwartzel.
Following Jack Nicklaus’ improbable win at the 1986 Masters, Arnold Palmer telegrammed a question to the 18-time major champion.
“Do you think there’s a chance for a 56-year-old?” Palmer wrote to Nicklaus, then 46.
The telegram, which is displayed at the Jack Nicklaus Museum in Columbus, Ohio, is one of numerous letters Palmer wrote to Nicklaus.
On April 4, 2005, Palmer sent a congratulatory note to the Golden Bear for receiving a key to the City of Augusta.
“You and Augusta go together like a hand in a glove,” Palmer stated, “so it is altogether fitting and proper that the City of Augusta honors you on this occasion – Jack Nicklaus Day.”
Palmer continued by telling the six-time Masters champion, “Today, the people of Augusta are not only honoring you for being the most successful winner in the history of the Masters Tournament but also for the magnitude of your achievements in golf, in the business world and in life itself. It is so well deserved.”
Nicklaus and Palmer combined for 10 Masters victories and spent seven years on No. 1 tee box together as honorary starters. After the ceremony went on hiatus from 2003 to 2006, tournament Chairman Billy Payne persuaded Palmer to hit the opening tee shot in 2007, and Nicklaus joined him in 2010. The addition of Gary Player in 2012 brought golf’s Big Three full circle.
Upon being invited to join Palmer in 2010, Nicklaus said, “I am also delighted to join my longtime friend Arnold on the tee. I have always had great respect for Arnold and his legacy at the Masters, and I did not, in any way, want to infringe on the opportunity for Arnold to have and enjoy this Masters tradition for himself. He is so deserving of this honor, and thus I felt it was his time, not mine. Recently, I was invited by both Augusta National and Arnold to join him on the first tee, and because he enthusiastically supported the invitation, it became an easy decision for me.”
Reach Doug Stutsman at (706) 823-3341 or email@example.com.