Hoping to get the attention of the film-makers for the excellent feature called 86, about Jack Nicklaus famous victory at the Masters in 1986, I posted the following on Facebook, as per instructions from a post Nicklaus’ team put up on Facebook looking for stories about where people were and what they remembered about the day.

P110905sc-0250dh President Bush presents PGA champion Jack Nicklaus with the Presidential Medal of Freedom Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005, during ceremonies at the White House. White House photo by Shealah Craighead

P110905sc-0250dh
President Bush presents PGA champion Jack Nicklaus with the Presidential Medal of Freedom Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005, during ceremonies at the White House. White House photo by Shealah Craighead

Here was my little entry:

I was a second-semester senior at Georgetown University, where the entire student center was in one long basement hallway of a big 19th Century building. That basement usually did not get much traffic on a Spring Sunday afternoon, but I was walking through it. There was one open meeting room, maybe 45 feet by 16 feet, where in the corner there was a TV hung on the wall. I was hustling home to my apartment to watch the Masters and peaked into the room because I saw Nicklaus standing over a putt at 9. I have been a devoted Nicklaus fan since I was seven years old in 1971, so I stopped in to watch the putt. Nobody else was in the room. Nicklaus made the putt, and I decided to stay there for luck. When he birdied 10, I decided to stay a bit longer. By the time he birdied 11, three or four other students had stopped in and were mesmerized. Despite the bogey at 12, word seemed to be spreading, and by the time of the birdie at 13, there were probably 10 or 12 people watching. And then the crowd of students grew and grew, guys and girls, golf fans and non-fans, everybody wanting to watch Nicklaus and everybody cheering with every new good shot. “Jack is charging!!” went calls down the hallway. “Jack is charging at the Masters!” By the birdie at 17, the entire room of maybe 80 kids was packed and people were jumping and cheering and high-fiving and some even crying. When Jack and Jackie walked off 18 arm in arm, at least half the people in the room were crying. It was electric — all these college kids, some of whom barely even understood golf, all in not just rapt but exuberant and nearly reverential admiration and support for a golfer old enough (just barely) to be the father of at least some of them. It was absolutely chill-inducing.

 

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