What does Jack Nicklaus do for an encore after winning the Congressional Gold Medal? He sinks a hole-in-one at Augusta National, that’s what.
The 75-year-old sunk the ace at the annual Masters Par 3 competition. Nicklaus’s shot on the 130-yard, par-3 fourth hole flew over the water to hit the green. It spun back on the angle to land in the cup.
The shot provoked an astonished roar from onlookers and a series of yeses from the broadcast booth. The 18-time major winner shared handshakes with playing partners Gary Player and Ben Crenshaw.
Wednesday’s heroics from the tee add to the Golden Bear’s already legendary status at Augusta. Nicklaus has won six green jackets, the most of any player in history, with his last coming 29 years ago. Sports Illustrated jokingly called his triumph at 46 in 1986 “one for the ages.” His feat at 75 surely stands as one for the old ages.
“Maybe Nicklaus had drawn up a contract with Lucifer for one last major, for that slippery 20th that had eluded him since 1980, for a sixth green blazer,” SI speculated in 1986. “In exchange, Nicklaus would do pro-ams in Hades the rest of his days. What else could explain it? How else to explain the guy in 160th place on the money list, just one spot behind Don Halldorson, winning the Masters?”
How does one explain Jack Nicklaus, three months after his 75th birthday, sinking a hole-in-one at Augusta? Perhaps the answer lies in the supernatural, but emanates from a less nefarious character than suggested by Sports Illustrated. Surely the Ohioan swings with an angel on his back.
The Masters, just six years older than the man who has won it most, plays into its ninth decade on Thursday. The tournament is scheduled to conclude on Sunday.