In MEDIA SOUND BITES Leonard Shapiro on October 27, 2011 at 5:19 am
Jack Nicklaus remains the greatest golfer of all-time, with a record 18 major championships in a playing career spanning more than 50 years. His golf design and architecture company also has been responsible for producing more than 275 Nicklaus signature courses around the world.
 Recently, I asked him to pick out the five courses he likes to play more than any other. Diplomatic Golden Bear that he is, Nicklaus preferred not to put them in any particular order, just as he chose not to rank his five favorite career victories, saying they all held a special place in his heart. No matter. It’s probably more fun to guess.
 Favorite Courses:
 St. Andrews. The Old Course, the home of golf, where he won his second British Open in 1970, beating Doug Sanders in a playoff, and won his third and last Open title in 1978, a two-shot victory over Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Raymond Floyd and Simon Owen.
Augusta National.  Nicklaus is an honorary member of the club and the winner of a record six Masters titles, including a four-year stretch between 1963 and 1966 when he won three times with one runner-up finish. He also won his final major there at age 46 in 1986 and became the oldest Masters champion.
Pebble Beach. On one of the most beautiful seaside golf courses in the world, Nicklaus won the third of his four U.S. Open titles there in 1972, defeating Bruce Crampton by three shots. He also won the old Bing Crosby pro-am at Pebble in 1972 and 1973 and twice was runner-up in that event.
Muirfield Village. The centerpiece golf course in a Dublin, Ohio community developed by Nicklaus, it’s been the venue for The Memorial tournament, his signature event on the PGA Tour, since 1976. Nicklaus won his own tournament in 1977 and 1984, and tinkers with the course virtually every year to account for changes in club and ball technology. The course has hosted a Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup and U.S. Amateur and is annually listed among the top 100 in the U.S.
The Bear’s Club. Nicklaus’s home course in Jupiter, FL., not far from his home and office.  He designed the course, opened in 1999, over a 400-acre piece of lush real estate, with a 40,000-foot Tuscan clubhouse and arguably the finest golfing amenities in the state.
Favorite Victories:
1959 U.S. Amateur. At the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO., Nicklaus, only 19 and a student at Ohio State University, won the first of his two amateur titles, beating Charles Coe, 1-up in the 36-hole final. Nicklaus always has said the victory was a springboard for launching his career.
1962 U.S. Open. As a rookie on the PGA Tour, his first professional victory came at Oakmont Country Club in the Pittsburgh suburbs, where he beat Arnold Palmer in an 18-hole playoff after both tied for the lead after 72 holes. It was the beginning of a fierce rivalry, and ultimately, a great friendship between the two titans of the game.
1966 British Open. After winning The ’66 Masters and finishing third at the U.S. Open, Nicklaus won his first Open title at Muirfield, completing a career Grand Slam of winning each of the four major championships. He went on to name Muirfield Village after the venerable Scottish venue where he defeated Doug Sanders and Dave Thomas by a shot.
1973 PGA Championship. Nicklaus won his 14th major title at Canterbury Golf Club in his native Ohio, defeating Bruce Crampton by four shots to surpass Bob Jones previous record of 13 career major championships.
1986 Masters. In the week before the tournament, Atlanta Constitution golf writer Tom McCollister wrote that the 46-year-old Nicklaus was “done, washed up, through.” Nicklaus used those words to motivate himself all week, and beat Tom Kite and Greg Norman by a shot for his 18th and final major title. The great Herbert Warren Wind described that victory as “nothing less than the most important accomplishment in golf since Bob Jones Grand Slam in 1930.”

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