Yes Sir!

| September 6, 2011

Verne Lundquist couldn’t contain his excitement. He has long covered the 16th and 17th holes at August National Golf Club, and when Jack Nicklaus came to his holes that Sunday, April 13th, 1986, even he couldn’t resist an exclamation after Jack made birdie. “Yes sir!”
Just six days earlier, a local writer described Jack Nicklaus as old and rusty with nothing left in the tank. Even Nicklaus himself couldn’t argue. He hadn’t won a golf tournament in two years, he hadn’t won any of the four majors in six years, and was ranked around 160th on the season’s money list. He admits to going through the motions with no expectations, even when he started Sunday’s final round.
Now one of the greatest days in golf history, A&E has released a DVD commemorating the 25th anniversary of Jack’s historic win at Augusta with a vast array of footage from the tournament and brand new interviews with Jack himself, as well as his competitor that day, Greg Norman. They’ve also included interviews with greats like Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, and Gary Player, all Masters champions. The story is narrated perfectly by Jack’s son, Jack Jr., who was caddying for his dad during the week and had a front row seat to the now mythical performance.
Jack came out of nowhere. The television crews weren’t covering him, the press didn’t attend his pre-tournament press conference, and Jack himself felt out of sorts. He was stumbling into the 1986 Masters, but Jack would stand up one last time, even if he didn’t know it.
He came to the back nine holes on Sunday four shots back, but birdies at 9, 10 and 11 put him on the top page of the leaderboard. His presence there struck fear into his competitors and started a roar in the crowd. He had just birdied the three most difficult holes on the golf course and later hit a four-iron within eight feet for eagle on the iconic 15th hole at Augusta to pull just one shot behind.
A&E perfectly unfolds the story with interviews unraveling the mind of a golfer and the thoughts in his head. Their collected footage gives life to the story as the momentum grows beneath Jack and the fear overwhelms his competitors, like Norman and Seve Ballesteros. The DVD captures the awe of the story and the legend of Jack’s final run at Augusta.
He would go on to birdie holes 16 and 17, putting him in the lead for the first time. The whole way the crowds were growing, running from hole to hole, abandoning the other golfers and joining the herds that now cheered for Jack louder than has since been heard at the Masters. He finished with a par on 18 and then sat and watched. Seve, the brash Spaniard, made bogey at 15, ending his run. Another of the world’s best, Tom Kite, missed a birdie putt on 18 to tie, and after back-to-back birdies of his own on 16 and 17, Norman came to the 18th needing just a par to tie.
It could not have been written any better. Jack, 46 years old and well past his prime, had just played the greatest 9 holes of his life with his oldest son on the bag. They shared a hug after his final putt and were now watching with the world as Greg Norman hit is approach to the 18th green. The shot sailed far right into the crowd of people, now in the thousands, and dashed Norman’s hopes. He failed to make par and Nicklaus had become the oldest player to ever win a major.
This is a story that has been retold more than any other in golf for the last 25 years, and now A&E has documented the day with a presentation befitting the performance by Jack himself. Nothing too fancy or bold, but a focus on an old man, worn out and rusty, and his son grabbing the attention of the world for nine holes of golf.
Yes sir, indeed.

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