Nicklaus to receive Congressional Gold Medal

Jack Nicklaus will receive the Congressional Gold Medal, pending only the formality of President Obama’s signature.

Legislation to recognize Nicklaus was passed by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday after the U.S. House of Representatives passed it in May.

“This is a fitting tribute for a man who has given so much to his community and country,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who authored the legislation along with Sen. Rob Fortman (R-OH). “Known across the world for his records on the golf course, it’s his hometown Ohio roots that ground Jack Nicklaus’ lasting legacy.

“Named by Sports Illustrated and ESPN as one of the greatest living athletes, the Golden Bear will now receive Congress’ greatest honor. I applaud Jack and his wife Barbara for all they have done and continue to do to improve the lives of others and I congratulate him on this honor.”

The Gold Medal is Congress’ greatest civilian honor and recognizes people “who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient’s field long after the achievement.”

Nicklaus, 74, will join Arnold Palmer as the only golfers to receive both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

“I had the fortunate pleasure in 2012 to attend and participate in Arnold’s Congressional Gold Medal ceremony, and I witnessed how special and meaningful it was to him,” said Nicklaus, affectionately known as the Golden Bear. “I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to experience that, as well, and to be a part of a very special group of past recipients.

“The game of golf has been an incredible gift to my family and me. It not only gave me a livelihood, but it provided Barbara and me with a vehicle to give back and to impact other lives, especially those of children and families in need.

“To our leaders in both the House and the Senate who supported this extremely kind gesture, I offer my most sincere and heartfelt appreciation. God bless America.”

Nicklaus, born and raised near Columbus, Ohio, and a graduate of Ohio State, won a record 18 major golf championships among his 73 PGA Tour titles.

Barbara and Jack Nicklaus founded the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and his Memorial Tournament, a PGA Tour event played in June at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, has raised more than $20 million in benefits for Central Ohio charities.

Past recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal include George Washington, John Paul Jones, Ulysses S. Grant, the Wright Brothers, Jesse Owens, Sir Winston Churchill, Jackie Robinson Rosa Parks, Byron Nelson, John Wayne, Mother Teresa, Walt Disney, Robert Frost, Frank Sinatra, Joe Louis, Bob Hope, Neil Armstrong and John Glenn.

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