During a stop in Sydney to review his recent renovations to The Australian Golf Club, Jack helped club officials announce that the course will play host to the 2014 Australian Open. He also had a chance to christen the redesigned layout with a grand re-opening tee shot alongside son Jack Nicklaus II and others from Nicklaus Design. He’s no stranger to the course—the Golden Bear won Australia’s national championship six times, including three of those at The Australian.
The club first hosted the Australian Open in 1904, and Nicklaus was asked to redesign the venerable layout in 1977—the year before his final Australian Open victory. The Australian Open was last played there in 2007, when it was won by Craig Parry.
Nicklaus, who won at The Australian in 1975, ’76 and ’78, to go with his Australian Open victories in 1964, ’68, and ’71.
Nicklaus’ sixth and final Australian Open title was not without a struggle. The Golden Bear battled a 1,358-pound black marlin in a six-hour, 25-minute struggle off the Great Barrier Reef right before the 1978 event. Catching the giant took its toll on the sportsman’s body, affecting his arms, back and knees. He remembers topping his first tee shot. Ultimately, Nicklaus beat Ben Crenshaw by six shots for his sixth Australian Open victory.
This December’s Australian Open will be played for the fourth consecutive year at The Lakes, also in Sydney. Peter Senior is the defending champion.
The Golden Bear has left his paw print on the country, with three golf courses in Australia. The others are Heritage Golf and Country Club, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in Melbourne, Victoria; and Lakelands Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in Robina, Queensland.