One for the Ages: Jack Nicklaus and the 1986 Masters

Overview

The Masters tournament has provided some of golf’s most memorable finishes—none more so than the improbable triumph by Jack Nicklaus in 1986. Twenty-five years later, many regard it as the most exciting Masters ever.

Nicklaus, 46, was 160th on the PGA Tour money list. His last win in a major championship had been six years earlier. Many of his rivals on the tour thought he was well on his way to being washed up.

But for Nicklaus, the Masters ...

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Overview

The Masters tournament has provided some of golf’s most memorable finishes—none more so than the improbable triumph by Jack Nicklaus in 1986. Twenty-five years later, many regard it as the most exciting Masters ever.

Nicklaus, 46, was 160th on the PGA Tour money list. His last win in a major championship had been six years earlier. Many of his rivals on the tour thought he was well on his way to being washed up.

But for Nicklaus, the Masters was an opportunity for redemption. The somewhat tarnished Golden Bear, with his eldest son, Jackie, as his caddy, hung on for the first three rounds. Then it was Sunday. Ballesteros, Norman, Kite, Watson, and others were ahead of him. During the afternoon, he charged.

One for the Ages is the pulse-pounding story of the most glorious moment in Jack Nicklaus’s career. It is also a celebration of the Masters, arguably the most prestigious tournament in golf, and its world-class players, who clashed during a golden weekend in Augusta until only one man, with his son at his side, was left standing.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
At this writing, with Tiger Woods in a tailspin, Jack Nicklaus has a lock on "the best golfer ever to play the game." Clavin (Sir Walter: Walter Hagen and the Invention of Professional Golf) writes about the last major championship, the 1986 Masters, that Jack won. What is particularly notable about this last championship is that Nicklaus was considered an unlikely contender: he was near the bottom on the PGA money list and hadn't won a major in six years. Considering the narrow focus of the title, Clavin spends a considerable amount of time on the creation and lore of Augusta National, material covered in other books such as Curt Sampson's The Masters and David Owen's The Making of the Masters. Nicklaus himself (with Ken Bowden) recounts the 1986 Masters in his own Jack Nicklaus: My Story. Additionally, most golf magazines cover this subject in their March/April editions, and it is brought up in Masters television coverage as well. VERDICT Owing to the abundance of similar coverage, golf readers can pass on this. There is better material available.—Steven Silkunas, North Wales, PA
Kirkus Reviews

A stirring account of the most memorable victory of golf's greatest champion.

In 1965, marveling at the talent of the young Jack Nicklaus, Bobby Jones remarked, "He plays a game with which I am not familiar." Nicklaus would go on to win a record 18 professional major championships, but by the 1986 Masters he was winless for two years, with no majors for six. Most thought him well past his prime, too old at 46 to win another. And then, for four days in April, the Golden Bear did the improbable, reminding everyone why we've never seen a golfer with such focus, discipline and pride. Former New York Times reporter Clavin (That Old Black Magic: Louis Prima, Keely Smith, and the Golden Age of Las Vegas, 2010, etc.) pays principal attention to the '86 tournament and Nicklaus' daily progress, focusing particularly on Sunday's back nine. However, the author frequently departs from what might otherwise be a prosaic stroke-by-stroke report with discussions of Augusta National's evolution and descriptions of the course and its famed magnolias, pines, dogwoods and azaleas; the history of the Masters, where the parade of glittering contestants amounts to a history of modern golf; the impressive 1986 field, featuring Ballesteros, Price, Norman, Langer, Kite, Crenshaw, Floyd, Watson, Strange, Couples and O'Meara, all of whom figured far more than Nicklaus to emerge triumphant; and Nicklaus' stellar career, his unprecedented achievements and the rich experience he brought to this moment that thrilled the gallery and brought many observers to tears. Nicklaus always had the respect of golf fans, but in 1986, Augusta's "patrons" gave themselves to him wholly, pulling unabashedly for him to prevail.

For golf fans, of course, but also for anyone who cherishes signature moments in sports history.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569767054
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 780,239
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Clavin

Tom Clavin is the author of the bestseller Halsey’s Typhoon, as well as Sir Walter, The Ryder Cup, and That Old Black Magic. He has written for magazines including Cosmopolitan, Golf, Golf Journal, and Good Housekeeping. He was a contributing reporter to the New York Times for 15 years.

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