Jack Nicklaus shot six strokes better than his age this week

With all of the stories and tributes surrounding Arnold Palmer this week, you may have forgotten about another golf legend who’s still alive and kicking.

Jack Nicklaus played in Ernie Els’ Autism Pro-Am at Old Palm Golf Club this week, the tournament in which Rickie Fowler shot a $1 million dollar hole-in-one, and shot six strokes below his age. Nicklaus is 77-years-old, meaning he shot a 71 and ended up winning second-place at the tournament.

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While this feat of hitting a 71 at 77 is remarkable, the Golden Bear still has ways to go before he beats the all-time mark for most strokes below a golfer’s age. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the official record belongs to an 89-year-old who turned in multiple rounds of 72. That guy probably hasn’t won 18 majors though.

Nicklaus remarked on the win, saying that this was the biggest trophy he’d ever received for second place.

“Just when I was getting my handicap up there, I had to go and not only shoot just my second round under 80 since November, but better my age by six shots with a 71. But seriously, it was a great day for golf and for raising needed money for the incredible work that my friends Ernie and Liezl Els do to bring attention and support for the estimated 1 in 68 children in the U.S. with autism.

I’m delighted I could join the big-hearted amateurs and pros in the 9th annual Els for Autism Pro-Am. I just don’t recall getting a trophy this big for any second-place finishes in my career!”

Nicklaus, just like Palmer, is a testament to how professional golfers can be true gentleman of the game by giving back whenever possible. Like any athlete, golfers have a much larger platform than the average person, and it’s when those players use their “fame” to do good for the world that they are upholding the values golf preaches.

It’s becoming apparent that golfers these days put points and money before most, for example the first Arnold Palmer Invitational without Arnie. Many top pros are missing it because of scheduling conflicts and preparation for the Masters, but what about honoring those that built the game for you. We understand the need to spend time with family, so we’re blaming the PGA Tour for this one. Either way, the King and the Golden Bear would and will always be the example, and should remind the players of what’s respectable.

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Arnie and Jack were the best of the best in their hay-day, and even after that. The two of them exceeded expectations for what a stand up athlete should be, both with pure talent and good hearts. Along with being great friends, these golfers set the standard for professional golfers and are still known for being legendary.

It’s sad to think of one without the other, but with all of the reminiscing this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, you can only hope the King is smiling down on his friends and family. Especially knowing how well Jack Nicklaus still is at the game they both loved dearly.