Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

B.T. (before Tiger): Jack Nicklaus

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

B.T. (before Tiger): Jack Nicklaus

Article excerpt

Jack Nicklaus: My Story

By Jack Nicklaus

Simon & Schuster 505 pp., $28 Tiger By John Strege Broadway Books 238 pp., $25 In terms of their careers in professional golf, Tiger Woods is still striding down the first fairway while Jack Nicklaus is approaching the clubhouse. When it comes to selecting a "good read," therefore, many aficionados of the sport may reach for Nicklaus's definitive new autobiography, "Jack Nicklaus: My Story," over any rush-to-publish book about Woods. Nicklaus has decades of experience under his belt and a raft of titles in his bag - 70 to be exact, including an unmatched 18 major titles in the Masters, US and British Opens, and PGA Championship. Most experts consider Nicklaus the greatest player ever. He dominated golf in the 1960s and '70s. In the preface to his book, Nicklaus says he believes that one day his accomplishments will be surpassed. He takes immense pleasure, however, in knowing he has made the task so challenging. Woods may be the phenom now, but Nicklaus was in 1959 at age 19, when he won the US Amateur Championship, his first major title. An interesting difference is that Nicklaus grew up a multisport enthusiast who didn't identify golf as his leading pursuit until 17. Woods, as has been widely publicized, was weaned to be a golfer. Nicklaus's father was probably not as intensely devoted to his son's athletic development as Earl Woods, yet Charlie Nicklaus, a pharmacist and former football player, helped cast the die. Jack says his dad "relentlessly encouraged and nurtured" his desire to excel, often challenging him in footraces when he was a sixth-grader. Nicklaus hits on all the important topics in his life, including his family, rivals, the metamorphosis of his public image, and his impressive business successes. His discussion of the latter subject is especially timely, given all the attention to Tiger Woods's commercial value. In the history of sports, no parent has probably achieved as much fame for his child's accomplishments as Earl Woods. He was there at the Masters golf tournament in April to greet victorious son Tiger as he came off the final green. …

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