The Award of Merit is the NGCOA’s longest-running award and is designated for long-term and significant contributions to the game of golf.
“Jack Nicklaus has made an unparalleled impact on the game of golf and we are privileged to bestow our Award of Merit on the ‘Golden Bear’ this year,” said Mike Hughes, CEO of the NGCOA. “While his incredible playing career has set a standard for generations, his accomplishments as a course designer, businessman, philanthropist and NGCOA member truly make him deserving of our highest honor.”
In making the announcement, NGCOA also stated, “(Jack’s) legacy on the course is being rivaled by the lasting mark he is currently leaving off the course, as well. The Golden Bear’s thriving business, Nicklaus Design, has created 380 courses in 36 countries and 39 states, and has had no fewer than 75 courses appear in various national and international Top-100 lists. Nicklaus himself has been involved in the design of close to 290 of the firm’s courses, no fewer than 100 of which have hosted a combined total of over 750 professional tournaments or national amateur championships.
“His Ohio home club of Muirfield Village Golf Club—the recipient of the 2008 NGCOA Jemsek Award for Golf Course Excellence—just became the first in history to have hosted the Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup and now Presidents Cup. That began a run of three consecutive years in which Nicklaus courses will host the world’s most prestigious international team event, with the 2014 Ryder Cup going to Gleneagles in Scotland and the 2015 Presidents Cup going to the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in New Songdo City.”