He’s come to be known as the “Golden Bear”. He played the game when technology wasn’t a factor. He’s also arguably the most accomplished golfer to ever play the game. Jack Nicklaus no longer plays competitive golf as a professional, yet he’s still the most revered symbol in the game. A professional golfer’s career isn’t judged by how much money they made or how many tournaments they won; it’s measured in how many Major Championships they have under their belt. For Jack Nicklaus, he set the bar and the bar is at 18.
Each PGA season contains only 4 Major Championships: The Masters, the U.S. Open, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship. Each tournament has approximately 156 players in the field and only 1 can win! Most professional golfers estimate to have a window of about 10-12 years to be really competitive and give themselves a chance to win a major. Jack’s 18 are starting to look nearly untouchable! But a few players have a chance!
Tiger Woods is by far the most popular professional golfer of all time. He’s also arguably the most skilled and the most talented. He’s also been on pace to shatter Nicklaus’ record, having won 14 major titles to date. But his torrid winning pace he set early in his career has been derailed in recent years. Woods hasn’t won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open and injuries and personal set-backs have kept him from challenging Nicklaus’ record. At 37 years old, he’s not “over the hill”, but he’s got a shorter shelf life to work with.
Rory McIlroy is currently the #1 player in the world and at only 23 years old, he’s the odds on favorite to dethrone Nicklaus from his perch. Although he only has 2 major championships to his credit (2011 U.S. Open & 2012 PGA), he has been close to winning several others and he has the skill set to compete each year for the next 2 decades.
Records are made to be broken and every year in every sport, records fall. Jack Nicklaus’ 18 major championships have held the test of time and only time will tell whether someone can catch him!