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Jack Nicklaus - 1972

February 17, 2012 - 5:13 pm
Jack Nicklaus and his wife Barbara at the 1972 Masters.  File/Staff
File/Staff
Jack Nicklaus and his wife Barbara at the 1972 Masters.
By John Boyette |

 

If the early- to mid-1960s was the Golden Age for Masters winners, then the period from 1967-71 might be described as the "Who's that?'' era.

Gay Brewer Jr., Bob Goalby ,George Archer and Charles Coody - all one-time major winners for their careers - got their 15 minutes of fame during the stretch by winning at Augusta National.

Jack Nicklaus restored order in 1972.

The Golden Bear, who had endured a mild slump in the late 1960s before winning the 1970 British Open, led wire-to-wire to win his fourth Masters title.

And, in a tournament oddity, Nicklaus' scores became progressively worse with each day of the tournament.

Nicklaus made the most of his opening 68, which was aided by an eagle on the 15th. A 71 on the second day further increased his lead as the field battled tough scoring conditions.

A 73 on Saturday was not cause for alarm. Nor was the 74 he produced Sunday, because Nicklaus still won the tournament by three shots over Bruce Crampton, Bobby Mitchell and Tom Weiskopf.

Nicklaus' win put him ahead of Walter Hagen on the all-time majors win list and just one behind Bobby Jones, the Masters co-founder who had died the previous year.

Nicklaus would match Jones' record at his next major, the U.S. Open, at Pebble Beach. His run of major victories came to a halt, though, as he finished one shot behind Lee Trevino at the British Open.

Although Nicklaus was less than pleased with his overall play at the Masters, a win was a win.

"I've played better here and didn't win,'' he told reporters. "But the course changes and the field changes.''

But Nicklaus' winning green jackets, well, that was something that didn't change very often.

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