Founder + Host
From the very beginning, an annual tournament had been part of Jack Nicklaus' plans for Muirfield Village Golf Club. The name, Memorial Tournament, followed from Nicklaus' desire to theme the Tournament around a person or persons, living or deceased, who has contributed to the game of golf with conspicuous honor. Tournament dates were secured from the PGA TOUR and, with tremendous fanfare, Jack Nicklaus' lifelong dream became a reality in the spring of 1976.
No name is more synonymous with greatness in the sport of golf than the name Jack Nicklaus, and no single person has changed the face of the sport more than Jack Nicklaus - the player, the designer, the businessman, the philanthropist, and the good-will ambassador.
Jack, was named "Golfer of the 20th Century" or "Golfer of the Millennium" by almost every major golf publication in the world. He was also named Individual Male Athlete of the Century by Sports Illustrated, and one of the 10 Greatest Athletes of the Century By ESPN.
In June 2018, the Golden Bear received the Lincoln Medal from the Ford's Theater Society, making Jack Nicklaus just the fourth person in history - and the first athlete or sportsperson - to be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom(2005), the Congressional Gold Medal(2015) and now the Lincoln Medal.
Jack's competitive career spanned five decades, and his legend has been built with 120 professional tournament victories worldwide, including a record 18 major-championship titles (six Masters, five PGA Championships, four U.S. Opens, three Open Championships). He is one of only five golfers who have won all of golf's modern majors - referred to as the career "Grand Slam" and the only golfer to have done so on both the regular and senior Tours.
The legacy Jack has left as a player can be rivaled only by the legacy he is leaving as a golf-course designer, businessman and philanthropist.
Since 1962, Jack has added the moniker of “businessman” to his lengthy résume. He is co-chairman of the privately held Nicklaus Companies. For a record six consecutive years, Golf Inc. magazine ranked Jack “The Most Powerful Person in Golf,” due to his impact on various aspects of the industry through his course design work, marketing and licensing business, his ambassadorial role in promoting and growing the game worldwide, and his involvement on a national and global level with various charitable causes.
Jack has designed close to 310 golf courses over a six-decade career, and was voted 2017 Golf Course Designer of the Year by the World Golf Awards. Nicklaus Design, the thriving business he founded almost 50 years ago, is considered the industry leader, with over 425 courses in 45 countries.
Tireless philanthropists, Jack and wife Barbara are the guiding light for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which supports numerous pediatric health-care services in South Florida, as well as nationwide, and has raised well over $100 million dollars since its inception in 2004. Renowned Miami Children’s Hospital and Miami Children’s Health System have been re-branded to Nicklaus Children’s, and along with the flagship hospital, there are 17 Nicklaus Children’s Outpatient Centers spread across Florida.
Focused on growing the game of golf, Jack is a Trustee of The First Tee. Three times he has spoken before the U.S. Congress on the character-building aspects of The First Tee. Jack is also a Trustee and spokesperson for PGA REACH—the charitable arm of the PGA of America, with focuses on youth, military, and diversity and inclusion. Residing in North Palm Beach, Fla., since 1965 and in the same home they have lived since 1970, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus are parents to five children and grand parents to 22.