First lady of golf’ Barbara Nicklaus named 2025 Memorial Tournament honoree

By | June 10, 2024

First lady of golf’ Barbara Nicklaus named 2025 Memorial Tournament honoree

Jun 5, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Jack and Barbara Nicklaus greet guests during a practice day for the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

The first lady of golf has been named the 2025 Memorial Tournament honoree for the 50th playing of the event at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

Barbara Nicklaus, wife of Jack Nicklaus, will be honored with the annual Captains Club award at next year’s tournament. She is the first non-golfer among 84 prior recipients.

“This honor is so incredibly special to me, and I can’t thank the Captains Club enough for thinking of me,” Barbara said in a statement, adding that she was overcome with emotion when receiving the news.

“The Memorial Tournament has held such a special place in our family’s life,” she said. “It’s been wonderful to walk side-by-side with Jack and to watch his dream become our reality over the years. Looking back at the list of those who have been honored since 1976, I can’t express how humbled I am to join this elite group that I have looked up to and respected for so long.”

The Nicklaus’ will have been married 64 years in July, since both attended Ohio State. Barbara is from Columbus and her husband from Upper Arlington.

The Golden Bear praised Barbara, who is the same age as him (84), for being the behind-the-scenes rock through 50 Memorials.

“It’s an emotional moment for me,” Jack said, fighting back tears on the CBS broadcast.

“I am so delighted and so happy and so proud of her,” he said. “She’s done so much for so many, and for 50 years here at Muirfield Village Golf Club she has contributed so much and has had very little recognition. It’s been hogged by her husband. So to have this happen, I mean, when it happened the tears just ran down my face.”

Born Barbara Jean Bash, she graduated from North High in 1957 and studied nursing at OSU. She met Jack during their first week on campus as freshmen and were married July 23, 1960. Five years later the couple moved to North Palm Beach, Florida, where they raised five children: Jack II, Steve, Nan, Gary and Michael. They have 24 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Among other honors, Barbara has received the 2015 Bob Jones Award, given by the United States Golf Association, and the 2019 PGA of America Distinguished Service Award.

Hadwin hung tough until ‘carnage’

For much of Sunday’s final round, Adam Hadwin was Scottie Scheffler’s closest pursuer. Hadwin started four shots behind the world’s top player but closed to within one shot with a birdie on No. 7.

But the Canadian, who was the Memorial’s first-round leader, couldn’t get any closer. Any chance he had to win ended when he missed an 11-foot par putt on No. 16.

Hadwin then bogeyed the final two holes to finish at 4-under and in third place.

“Obviously, it’s an extremely tough golf course when things are going well, and I was fighting things for the most part today,” Hadwin said. “I didn’t drive it in the fairway, which is enemy No. 1. Even when I did, I felt like I hit some good shots that just didn’t work out.

“I’m proud of the way I battled. It does sting to finish the way I did, 16 through 18. I had put a Band-Aid on the round for a long time before that, and the Band-Aid came off and it was carnage.”

Still, it was a highly profitable week for Hadwin, who entered the week ranked 59th in the world.

He earned $1.4 million, which is almost three times what he made for his only PGA Tour victory, $500,000 for a 2017 win at the Valspar Open.

Hadwin hopes to carry his play at Muirfield Village to the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina this week.

“I think my swing is in a really good spot,” Hadwin said. “I had a great warm-up session today.

“(But) it’s amazing what a little bit of pressure will do. I just didn’t have the same rhythm that I had the first three days, and it cost me there coming down the stretch.”

Jason Day struggles to 77 on Sunday

Like so many on Sunday, Westerville resident Jason Day scuffled in the final round of the Memorial.

He had only one birdie as he shot 77, which included a double-bogey on No. 9.

“I just struggled a little bit with the game today,” Day said. “It’s just difficult for everyone. I don’t think anyone’s enjoying it out there right now.”

Only six golfers finished under par on Sunday.

“There’s a little bit of wind,” Day said. “It’s not difficult to hit fairways, but when you do miss the fairways, the greens are really hard to hit (and) if you miss in the wrong spots, you fighting an uphill battle.”

Day finished the tournament 6-over par and tied for 33rd.

“It was a tough week,” he said, “but if there’s a positive, if you’re trying to get ready for the U.S. Open, this is probably a good week.

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