The thought of not going to college never crossed the mind of a young Jack Nicklaus.
Sunday morning, as the final round of the Memorial Tournament was getting underway at Muirfield Village Golf Club, Nicklaus was on hand to recognize this year’s collegiate winners of the annual award that bears his name. As one discussed having briefly considered never playing collegiately, and another mentioned his pending transfer for his final season, Nicklaus was asked: had he considered skipping college?
In short: no.
“I was recruited by a lot of schools and offered scholarships,” he said. “I told them, don’t bother. I was going to go to Ohio State because I wanted to go to Ohio State. I hadn’t missed an Ohio State football game since I was 6 years old. I wasn’t about to miss one.”
Nicklaus said he paid for his room, books and tuition through the second quarter of his senior year thanks to having won two $1,000 scholarships from winning golf tournaments while in high school. His first week at school, where he studied to be a pharmacist like his father, Nicklaus met his eventual wife, Barbara. When he returns to town, Nicklaus said he still often meets with as many as a dozen of his Phi Gamma Delta fraternity brothers.
“College is what you want to make it,” he said. “I think that the growth you get from being around people and disciplines and learning how to budget your time and so forth is so valuable. College more teaches you how to learn, not what you learn.”