The man who became the bear |

The man who became the bear

Dan Savickas

Growing up with an enthusiastic golfer as a father, I often heard stories about the Golden Bear.

My father spoke of him with such awe and respect as a player and a person. The Golden Bear was the best there was in his eyes, and the best there will ever be.

I remember watching Nicklaus prowl the course as a young boy, pleading with my father to change the channel.

“If you want to learn how to play golf,” he would say, “This is the guy to watch.”

Nicklaus’s career speaks for itself: 71 Professional Golf Association tour victories, 5 time PGA player of the year and 20 major wins. These are just a few of his accomplishments.

Nicklaus has been in the PGA for 42 years. To be great is one thing, but remain great for 42 years is another.

Although according to Nicklaus his game hasn’t been up to par. “Haven’t you seen me play golf lately?” Nicklaus laughed. “In the Senior Open I played a 62 terrible holes. Then I learned how to play the last 10.”

There were no excuses, no anger or sound of disappointment in his voice. He played a few bad rounds, and he was honest about it.

In the PGA Senior Open Nicklaus placed 25th with nine over par.

The man know as the Golden Bear is short in stature, but quit large in persona. His legacy in golf is one to always be remembered no matter how many of his records are broken.

Dan Savickas is sports and outdoors reporter for the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at