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First Lady of Golf Barbara Nicklaus selected 2025 Honoree of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday

June 09, 2024

First Lady of Golf Barbara Nicklaus selected 2025 Honoree of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday


DUBLIN, Ohio – Officials of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday announced today that the Captains Club has selected Barbara Nicklaus as the 2025 Tournament Honoree during what will be the 50th playing of the PGA TOUR Signature Event hosted by golf legend Jack Nicklaus.

Often referred to as the “First Lady of Golf,” and fittingly the inaugural recipient of the PGA of America First Lady of Golf Award in 1998, Barbara Nicklaus has been an influential figure in the game of golf, first and foremost as a guiding force behind her husband Jack Nicklaus throughout his Hall of Fame career. Instrumental in the formation of the PGA TOUR, Jack Nicklaus won 73 PGA TOUR titles and a record 18 major championships and has been a pioneering golf course designer with close to 320 courses to his credit.

In 1974, Jack Nicklaus opened Muirfield Village Golf Club, and he founded the Memorial Tournament in 1976, an endeavor he often has said wouldn’t have been as successful without the support and guidance of Barbara. That success includes raising more than $52 million thus far for central Ohio charities and beyond.

In that vein, Barbara Nicklaus has blazed her own trail with her steadfast devotion to family and community, and for decades has been known as one of the most tireless supporters of charitable causes, especially the health and well-being of children. In 2004, Jack and Barbara started the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which has raised more than $200 million toward the mission of enhancing access to world-class health care for children and families in South Florida, across North America and beyond. The Foundation is now part of the Memorial’s collaborating charitable partners, along with Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, which has been a primary beneficiary of the Memorial Tournament since its inception.

“This honor is so incredibly special to me, and I can’t thank the Captains Club enough for thinking of me,” Barbara Nicklaus said. “When the Captains Club gathered for their annual meeting and our longtime friend Charlie Mechem called in to relay the news, I was overcome with emotion and, honestly, speechless. The Memorial Tournament has held such a special place in our family’s life. It’s been wonderful to walk side-by-side with Jack and to watch his dream become our reality over the years. Looking back at the list of those who have been honored since 1976, I can’t express how humbled I am to join this elite group that I have looked up to and respected for so long.”

Jack Nicklaus added: “Everybody has thought that this golf tournament was about Jack Nicklaus. Yes, Jack Nicklaus has been a big part of it, but Jack Nicklaus has always been a team and partnership with Barbara Nicklaus. Barbara Nicklaus has been the First Lady of Golf. She has received numerous awards for what she has meant to the game of golf. And the Captains Club felt it only fitting at the 50th playing of the Memorial Tournament that Barbara is the one who should be honored. 

“I am so delighted and so happy, and I’m so proud of her. She's done so much for so many, and for 50 years here at Muirfield Village Golf Club she has contributed so much and has had very little recognition. It's been hogged by her husband. So to have this happen, I mean, when it happened the other day, the tears just ran down my face.” 

Born Barbara Jean Bash on February 28, 1940, in Columbus, Ohio, Barbara is the daughter of the late Stanley and Helen Bash of Clintonville, Ohio. Her father was a math teacher and her mother a home maker. After graduating from North High School in 1957, she attended The Ohio State University to study nursing. She met Jack Nicklaus during their first week on campus as freshmen, and they were married July 23, 1960. 

Five years later, the Nicklauses took up residence in South Florida’s North Palm Beach, where they raised five children: Jack II, Steve, Nan, Gary and Michael. They have 24 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. 

As Jack marched on to a Hall of Fame career, Barbara was there every step of the way as a constant source of support and comfort. Along the way, she was a devoted mother while pursuing her passion for helping others. Her philanthropic efforts have had wide-ranging impact. In addition to serving as chair of the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, Barbara joined with Jack and the PGA TOUR to start Play Yellow, a golf industry-wide initiative that has raised more than $130 million in five years for the Children’s Miracle Network of hospitals.

Her resolute efforts on behalf of others have been recognized by several organizations. Among honors Mrs. Nicklaus has received are the 2015 Bob Jones Award given by the U.S. Golf Association and the 2019 PGA of America Distinguished Service Award.

Presented annually since 1955, the Bob Jones Award is the USGA’s highest honor, recognizing an individual who demonstrates the spirit, personal character and respect for the game exhibited by Jones, winner of nine USGA championships. Barbara and Jack are the only wife and husband to receive the award in separate years, as Jack received the Bob Jones Award in 1975. The PGA Distinguished Service Award has honored outstanding individuals who display leadership and humanitarian qualities, including integrity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game of golf. The PGA honored Jack in 2000, on the eve of his final PGA Championship appearance.

“Barbara’s generosity of spirit and deep respect for the game have touched the lives of countless families throughout the world,” Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., president of the USGA in 2015, said of Barbara Nicklaus at the time she was honored. “Her dedication to support players and spouses, and advocacy for multiple causes, are worthy of our highest honor. She has been the rock for arguably the game’s greatest champion, while raising a family and devoting her heart and soul into what she believes in. We are proud to bestow this award upon her to recognize her lasting contribution to the game.”

Barbara Nicklaus also was instrumental in the creation of the PGA TOUR Wives Association in 1988. The association found its roots in the first TOUR wives golf tournament, featuring the husbands serving as caddies, at the 1987 Players Championship. The event was so impactful in raising charitable funds that some of the most active wives¾ Nicklaus, Patsy Graham, Vicky Waldorf and Maria Floyd¾decided to form a group for charitable work. Thus, the PGA TOUR Wives Association was born. For more than 35 years the organization has given back to the golf community and child-related charities through volunteerism plus more than $5 million in contributions. During that time, Barbara has served as a mentor, friend and inspiration to its members and beyond.  

Twice the Nicklauses have been named Family of the Year in the world of golf. 

Barbara Nicklaus will be honored during a ceremony at Muirfield Village Golf Club on the eve of the first round of the 2025 Memorial Tournament.

HONORS and AWARDS

  • 1990 PGA TOUR Ambassador of Golf Award
  • 1995-96 Captain of Muirfield Village Golf Club
  • 1998 PGA of America First Lady of Golf (inaugural recipient)
  • 2000 Winnie Palmer Award, presented by the Met Golf Writers Association (inaugural recipient)
  • 2007 African American Golfers Hall of Fame Humanitarian Award
  • 2015 USGA Bob Jones Award
  • 2019 PGA of America Distinguished Service Award
  • 2021 Florida Women’s Hall of Fame
  • 2022 Governor’s Medal of Freedom, the highest honor in the State of Florida
  • 2025 the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday Honoree

For more information about the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, please visit thememorialtournament.com. For the latest news and updates on social media, follow the Tournament on X and Instagram at @MemorialGolf and on Facebook at Facebook.com/theMemorialTournament.

About the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday
The Memorial Tournament presented by Workday is held annually at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. The Tournament, founded and hosted by Jack Nicklaus, is conducted each year with three goals in mind: to honor the memory of individuals living and deceased who have distinguished themselves in the game of golf; to showcase the world’s best golfers competing on one of the most challenging venues in the world for the enjoyment of spectators; and to benefit many Greater Columbus Charities in alliance with the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation and numerous other local organizations. For more information, visit www.thememorialtournament.com or call 614-889-6700.

About Workday
Workday is a leading enterprise platform that helps organizations manage their most important assets – their people and money. The Workday platform is built with AI at the core to help customers elevate people, supercharge work, and move their business forever forward. Workday is used by more than 10,500 organizations around the world and across industries – from medium-sized businesses to more than 60% of the Fortune 500. For more information about Workday, visit workday.com.

Media Contact:
Thomas P. Sprouse                                                                                                                  
Director of Communications,                                                                                              
the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday                                                    
E-Mail: tsprouse@thememorialtournament.com                                                       
Office: 614-889-6791                                                                                                              
Mobile: 614-519-1873

 

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