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Golf Australia Express : Issue 40—The US Open
final hole, which left him a relatively short putt to claim the championship and again deny Nicklaus the US Open crown. The roars of excitement from Arnie’s Army soon turned to groans of disappointment as Palmer’s attempt missed the hole on the high side. They’d all be back Sunday for an 18-hole playoff. THE CROWDS WERE even more pro-Palmer on Sunday—if possible— and the heckling of Nicklaus continued to a ridiculous degree. Members of the crowd stamped their feet as Jack tried to putt, called out to put him off, and cheered when he missed a green. But that didn’t worry Nicklaus. He hadanOpentowin.Hehada giant to slay. Nicklaus took advantage of his superior length off the tee, going one up after the first hole and two up when he birdied the fourth. A two- shot swing at the sixth when Palmer bogeyed and Nicklaus birdied extended the lead to four. And despite a charge from Palmer with birdies at 11 and 12 to reduce the deficit, he effectively sealed his fate with a three-putt bogey at 13. Nicklaus held Palmer off coming home and enjoyed a two-shot buffer heading to the final hole. In the end, the fat kid from Ohio won by three strokes, becoming the youngest winner of a US Open since Bobby Jones in 1923. He won a whopping $17,500 while Palmer pocketed $10,500 for his part in the start of what became one of golf’s greatest rivalries. Of course, 11 three-putts during the event to Jack’s one might have had something to do with it. “Now that the big guy is out of the cage, everybody better run for cover,” Palmer remarked at the time. THATEPIC BATTLE was 50 years ago this week and run for cover they did. Nicklaus’ win at Oakmont kick-started a career unlike any other in golf: 18 majors; 73 PGA Tour wins; eight-time money leader; five-time PGA Player of the Year; hall of fame induction; and infinite memories. We often hear from pros that the first win is the hardest one. It raises the question, had Palmer been able to hold off Nicklaus in 1962 would we have been robbed of the greatest of them all? Robbed of hours and hours of highlight footage? Thankfully, we'll never know. So here’s to Arnie—and his poor putting at Oakmont—for playing an important part in Jack’s rise. He let the Bear out of his cage, and we were all privileged enough to get an invite along for the wild ride. OTG The fat kid from Ohio won by three strokes, becoming the youngest winner of a US Open since Bobby Jones in 1923. CHECK OUT JACK NICKLAUS' AMAZING US OPEN RECORD IN THE VIDEO BELOW.