The House and Senate will award golfer Jack Nicklaus the Congressional Gold Medal on March 24.
The announcement for a date comes after the president signed the legislation in December sponsored by Ohio Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown.
“I am proud that this son of Ohio will be honored with a Congressional Gold Medal for his extraordinary life and achievements,” Senator Portman reflected as the legislation headed to the president’s desk. “Jack Nicklaus is a legend, and without a doubt the greatest golfer of all time. Yet in addition to the Golden Bear’s career in golf, he is a dedicated philanthropist who has made a difference in communities across America. Together with his wife Barbara, Jack has positively impacted the lives of thousands of children and their families through the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, and other initiatives.”
Nicklaus’s 18 majors victories stands as a record that, given Tiger Woods’s difficulties in recent years, appears unlikely to be broken anytime soon. The six-time Masters winner grew up in the state of Ohio and graduated from Ohio State, which helps explain Portman and Brown’s interest in honoring him.
Nicklaus joins athletes such as Jesse Owens, Byron Nelson, Roberto Clemente, Joe Louis, and Jackie Robinson, and distinguished Americans such as Charles Shultz, Jonas Salk, John Wayne, Charles Lindbergh, and Norman Schwarzkopf, as a recipient of the award. Along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal rates as the highest honor given to civilians by the American government.
“I had the fortunate pleasure in 2012 to attend and participate in [Arnold Palmer’s] Congressional Gold Medal ceremony, and I witnessed how special and meaningful it was to him,” Nicklaus reflected upon Congress passing the legislation honoring him. “I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to experience that, as well, and to be a part of a very special group of past recipients. The game of golf has been an incredible gift to my family and me. It not only gave me a livelihood, but it provided Barbara and me with a vehicle to give back and to impact other lives, especially those of children and families in need. To our leaders in both the House and the Senate who supported this extremely kind gesture, I offer my most sincere and heartfelt appreciation. God bless America.”