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Jack Nicklaus to Headline GAM Centennial Celebration

Posted on January 16th, 2019

FARMINGTON HILLS – Golf legend Jack Nicklaus will headline a gala June Golf Association of Michigan Foundation fundraiser at Oakland Hills Country Club to help honor the association’s centennial.

The GAM 100 CELEBRATION on Monday, June 17, will include golf on the famed South Course, with proceeds benefiting the GAM Foundation, including its efforts to grow the game through its Youth on Course initiative.

Nicklaus, 79 on Jan. 21, returns to where he won the 1991 U.S. Senior Open on the South Course in a playoff with Chi Chi Rodriguez, and where 30 years earlier he finished fourth in the 1961 U.S. Open as a 21-year-old amateur.

Nicklaus will take part in a special program and celebration dinner, as well as a VIP meet-and-greet session. Opportunities and donation levels to take part in the celebration events, including golf, will be announced soon.

The Monday of the GAM 100 CELEBRATION is also the final practice day for the 108th Michigan Amateur Championship that Oakland Hills is hosting across the street on the North Course over the following five days.

The celebration is one of the highlights that will mark the GAM’s centennial this summer. A special centennial Annual Meeting in April is planned, and a new executive director will also be named this year.

“Jack Nicklaus is the greatest golfer of all-time and it will be great to have him back at Oakland Hills,” said David Graham, who will retire in June as the longest tenured executive director of the GAM with 18 years of service.

“It’s a special spot for him. His history of championship golf is unparalleled, and then you must add to that what he has contributed to the game as a golf course designer, businessman, brand, and philanthropist. He has three great golf courses he designed in Michigan—TPC of Michigan, Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor and The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort—and he has epitomized a level of excellence for me and many of Michigan’s golfers over the years.”

On April 22 at Detroit Golf Club — one of the GAM’s original 14-member clubs and the site of the PGA TOUR’s return to Michigan for the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic — the GAM will present its Annual Meeting of Club Delegates.

Mark Reinemann, USGA Executive Committee member and Chairman of the 2018 Rules of Golf Committee, will be the guest speaker, and both classic Donald Ross courses at DGC will be available for golf that day. Special pricing to encourage broad participation is being determined, and invitations will go out soon. As always, the meeting will feature the presentation of annual awards, including the Distinguished Service Award and Player of the Year honors, a series of meetings and workshops for delegates.

ABOUT THE GAM: The GAM serves 60,000 golf members and 470 clubs and courses in the state, and its Foundation is a charitable arm currently focused on youth golf. With the help of over 250 volunteers and rules officials the association provides 35 championships for golfers, age 7 to 70-plus, and administers 40 qualifiers for the major GAM championships and 18 for the USGA and its schedule of national championships. The GAM also administers the GAM/USGA Handicap System and measures and rates almost 70 courses a year. Learn more at gam.org

ABOUT JACK NICKLAUS: No name is more synonymous with greatness in the sport of golf than the name Jack Nicklaus, and no single person has changed the face of the sport more than Jack Nicklaus – the player, the designer, the philanthropist, and the good-will ambassador. Jack was named “Golfer of the Century” or “Golfer of the Millennium” by almost every major golf publication in the world. He was also named Individual Male Athlete of the Century by Sports Illustrated, and one of the 10 Greatest Athletes of the Century by ESPN. In June 2018, the Golden Bear received the Lincoln Medal from the Ford’s Theatre Society, making Jack Nicklaus just the fourth person in history—and the first athlete or sportsperson—to be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2005), the Congressional Gold Medal (2015) and now the Lincoln Medal.

Jack’s competitive career spanned five decades, and his legend has been built with 120 professional tournament victories worldwide and a record 18 professional major-championship titles (six Masters, five PGA Championships, four U.S. Opens, three British Opens). He is one of only five golfers—Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, and Tiger Woods the others—who have won all four of golf’s modern majors, an achievement often referred to as the career “Grand Slam.” Jack remains the only player to have completed the career Grand Slam on both the regular and senior tours. His eight majors on the senior circuit, now called the PGA TOUR Champions, stood as a record from 1996 until 2017.

The legacy Jack has left as a player can be rivaled only by the legacy he is leaving as a golf-course designer, businessman and philanthropist. Jack was voted the 2017 Golf Course Designer of the Year by the World Golf Awards, following his receipt of such honors as GOLF Magazine’s Architect of the Year in 2014. Jack has been involved in the design of over 300 courses open for play worldwide, and the firm he founded, Nicklaus Design, has more than 415 courses open for play in 45 countries, 40 states, and more than 150 Nicklaus Design courses have hosted over 1,000 professional tournaments worldwide or significant national amateur championships.

Jack and his wife Barbara have a long history of involvement in numerous charitable activities, from junior golf to children’s hospitals to several scholarship foundations. Jack and Barbara are the guiding light for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which supports numerous pediatric health-care services in South Florida, as well as nationally, and has raised almost $90 million dollars since its inception in 2004. In 2015, Jack and Barbara’s efforts for impacting pediatric healthcare reached a significant milestone when Miami Children’s Health System renamed its flagship hospital Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. In November of 2017, and in a system-wide re-branding, Miami Children’s Health System became Nicklaus Children’s Health System. This includes 14 outpatient centers and facilities located throughout Florida.

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