Golf’s Big Three: Nicklaus, Palmer, Player
Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player were at times an invincible triumvirate that ruled the kingdom of golf in the 1960s. Together, these three greats won a total of 34 majors. Victories in golf’s majors, the Masters, the U.S, Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship, is the ultimate standard used by most to gauge golfing greatness. The “Golden Bear,” Jack Nicklaus, is perhaps the greatest golfer of all time. His 18 victories in majors is considered one of the top records in all of sports. His first major victory came in 1962. Both Palmer and Player won their first majors in the late fifties.Palmer won his last one in 1964, while Player won his ninth and last one in 1978. Nicklaus concluded his brilliant run with his historic Masters win in 1986, when he was 46 years of age.
Nicklaus was an Ohio State alum that was simply the longest hitter on the tour through the mid and late 60s. Palmer, the son of a golf pro from Latrobe, PA, electrified fans with his gutsy, “go for it all” attitude. “Arnie’s Army” loyally followed him as he reeled off seven major wins. Gary Player, the diminutive but super-fit golfer from South Africa, gave hope to players of shorter stature everywhere. His fitness regimen was legendary, as he’d complete literally hundreds of push-ups and sit-ups every day. His extreme fitness helped him cope with 16 hour flights from Johannesburg to the states. He won all of those majors while playing on two continents far, far from home.
When one considers that just 40 majors are held each decade, the 34 that the “big three” collectively won during their careers is that much more amazing.