JACK NICKLAUS WINNING ANOTHER PGA CHAMPIONSHIP IN 1980, his fifth, was hardly a surprise. That he did it by a record seven- stroke margin wasn’t overly newsworthy either, really, and neither was the fact that he posted the only sub-par score over 72 holes
at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., posting a 6-under 274.
Heck, everyone in golf had seen this movie before. Lots of times.
No, what made the 62nd PGA such an eye-opener was how thoroughly Nicklaus re-established himself in the major championships in the year he turned 40 years old and one year removed from his worst season as a professional, one that seemed to augur an irreversible deterioration in his abilities. In 1979, Nicklaus went without a victory, was not a legitimate factor in the majors (including a desultory T65 in the PGA Championship at Michigan’s Oakland Hills Country Club), and plummeted from fourth to 71st on the PGA Tour money list.
Critics at the time pointed to Nicklaus’
increasing involvement in golf course
design and other business ventures and a
distinct lack of competition – he made only
12 official starts in ’ 79 – as the reasons for
his descent. But the Golden Bear knew
that those were only convenient excuses
and not the root cause of his struggles. As
he wrote in his autobiography “My Story,” a
lack of preparation wasn’t the problem: “It
was that my game had deteriorated beyond
With 69 PGA Tour titles, including 15
majors, on his resume, Nicklaus easily could
have decided to step back further from
tournament golf. In fact, he seriously
contemplated just such an option for much
of the last few months of ’ 79. Instead, he
opted to rededicate himself, which
included the arduous task of rebuilding his
golf swing with the help of his longtime
friend and instructor Jack Grout. He also
overhauled his short game under the
tutelage of another longtime friend, PGA
Professional Phil Rodgers.
Jack Nicklaus captured the 62nd PGA Championship – his record-tying fifth all-time – at Oak Hill Country Club by a whopping seven strokes
By Dave Shedloski
THE PGA OF AMERICA
With help from wife Barbara,
Jack Nicklaus hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy following the 1980 PGA Championship.
THE OFFICIAL PROGRAM OF THE 2010 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP