Why Jack Nicklaus Is The Best of All Time

inar01_nicklausswingAnd this isn’t a personality or popularity contest.  I base my opinion on the following things:

First of all, it’s because he won over 70 PGA Tour events, including 18 Majors, while married and raising kids with his wife Mrs. Nicklaus.

Think about that – by the time Nicklaus won his first major, he was already married and the Nicklauses had already had their first child, Jack Jr.

And then he won 17 more… Tiger Woods, in comparison, won 8 majors as a single man and 6 more while married, and only 2 of those following 6 majors came after his first child was born.

And it wasn’t because it was easier to win back then… it wasn’t

Oh, did I mention Jack’s 19 runner-up finishes in the majors?

That’s 37 top-2 placings in majors over his career.

That.Is.Insane.

Jack was the greatest, and he did it in his spare time, between fishing trips and attending his kids’ high school sports.

Young Jack Nicklaus

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That is the definition of “great.”

Now, lets get to the technical reason Jack Nicklaus is the best ever.  He won the most majors, is 3rd in tournament wins, and had the best swing, all around, of any other major winner.

Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan may have been more accurate at their peak form, but no one blew away golf courses like Nicklaus did when he hit the scene.

When Jack said after Tiger’s first Masters win in ’97 that Tiger was playing a game with which he was unfamiliar, he was only repeating the exact same thing that Bobby Jones had said about him in the 60’s.

And get this address position of a young Nicklaus (the photo came with the lines, I didn’t draw them):

Nicklaus-SwingCenters

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If that stance looks familiar to you, then you’ve been following this blog since I finished the model for the MCS “Ultimate Leverage.”

dj seq

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Because they’re virtually the same, except for a couple of differences that I’ll get into later.

You could actually say that the MCS “Ultimate Leverage” model has three components – the address stance of young Jack Nicklaus, the pivot of Ben Hogan, and the “throw release” action through impact, a phrase I first heard from Mike Austin.

You can see the same address setup in the older Nicklaus as well:

inar01_nicklausswing

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Heck, you can look for sequences with Jack Nicklaus and see the same stance characteristics over and over:

Ball-position-Nicklaus

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Look at that picture above.  It is the very essence of the UMCS address setup and ball positions, shown face-on.

I wonder what that left elbow is doing… I bet I know… everyone who has watched the Grip, Arms & Posture video, take a look above, you’ll know what I’m talking about…

So, expect to hear a lot more about Jack Nicklaus going forward, because just as the “floating pivot” in UMCS is the same as used by Ben Hogan, the address stance of the MCS “Ultimate Leverage” model most closely matches Jack Nicklaus’ except for the stance line, which follows Hogan’s.

Put those two together, and add the “throw release” action through impact, and you’ve got a swing model made for the ages…

MCS “Ultimate Leverage – Driver

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…because UMCS  comes from the ages… the previous ones to the ridiculous “modern swing” school of thought.

Nicklaus, Hogan, Snead, Nelson – no modern player does what they did with a ball, so don’t give me any bluster about how the modern swing is superior to the classic one.

It isn’t, and every broken back and twisted knee from the modern players should tell you that.

And here’s the irony – no matter how good a player is, with the modern swing – he won’t last long enough to beat Jack’s record.

Tiger came the closest, but he’s only gotten 3/4 of the way there, and he’s falling apart at the seams.  No 15, let alone 18.

No one will play long enough and stay healthy long enough to beat Jack’s majors record – until the modern swing goes away.

Yes, I said it.

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12 thoughts on “Why Jack Nicklaus Is The Best of All Time

  1. bigtoilet

    I’m quite sure Jack was able to easily have the head turn to the right at address because he is very left eye dominant. A right eye dominant person will have trouble sighting the ball with that much head crank.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Well, you can see that I don’t have my head cranked like that, but we have virtually the same head position at the top…

      So the pre-takeaway head crank is an idiosyncrasy… the rest is not.too.bad. at all… wouldn’t you say?

      1. Goose

        It’s actually not an idiosyncrasy. When Jack was a young amateur he played a round with Sam Snead and noticed that he perturned the head. Jack also had toyed with it previous to the round with Snead. After playing with Sam, he decided to go with it. If it was good enough for Sam….Sam’s and Bobby Jones swings were among his favorites growing up.

        A little more history…
        The famed instructor Alex Morrison was the teacher to Henry Picard. Picard was Jack Grout’s teacher and as we all know, Grout was Nicklaus’s teacher.

        One of Morrison’s keys was to position the chin behind the ball and leave it there for the entire swing. He said this would cure most issues in the swing because the body would move in the correct sequence if left alone and not put into “positions”. Obviously, Nicklaus knew about the preturn early on based on this coaching lineage.

        2 other things….
        Henry Picard helped Hogan a lot with his swing early on, including getting him to weaken his grip. He also helped Hogan financially when he was really struggling. Hogan was so grateful for all Picard did that he dedicated his first book, Power Golf to him.

        Also, I think Nicklaus has said he is left eye dominant. Good catch BT!

        1. D Watts Post author

          Goose, I will admit that I’ve been doing that in studying what Nicklaus was doing. Not that it’s so difficult, his swing is nearly 100% UMCS, or rather, UMCS is nearly 100% Nicklaus, just as it is with Snead or Hogan with various differences.

          I’ll tell you this – if anyone is having pivot issues, pre-turn your head before you pivot. I notice when I’m doing it with the swing stick, it basically sets the pivot angle and plane going back.

          I’ll do it hitting some balls and see what happens.

          Great comment! 😀

  2. Laser

    “no matter how good a player is, with the modern swing – he won’t last long enough to beat Jack’s record.”

    –And, as if that weren’t enough, they’ve lengthened the season. Speith might not last ’til he’s 30 if it keeps playing a schedule like this year.

    We’ve got 2 things going on–modern SWING that might be seen with Tour players…and modern swing THEORY that comes from gurus on TV and in magazines, which is basically reverse-engineered video from only two 2-dimensional views (face-on and DTL). These are used simply because they are the most convenient camera positions…not because they offer better analysis.

    I haven’t heard any Tour pros claim to be using Modern Swing Theory. (And books written by pros are really written by co-writers.)

    1. D Watts Post author

      Funny you mention Spieth, Laser – he’s a strange one in that he does’t seem to have any physical issues yet, but then he’s still at that very flexible and pliable stage – if he’s going to start breaking down, I give him a couple more seasons.

      And you are correct – I don’t see many pros swinging the way the gurus say to. Even Tiger didn’t swing the way Foley’s model was built. Now, both Tiger’s swing under Foley and Foley’s model were both horrific, but the point is taken.

  3. bigtoilet

    What is Leadbetter doing?? Dividing his time between DESTROYING Wie and RUINING Ko??

    I don’t think anyone WANTS to go see Leadbetter. It’s just that IMG/Nike run the show and they have Leadbetter in their deal. Players get basically TOLD (by management companies) they have to go to certain instructors.

    I’ve seen this TRIED with Brendan Steele and Rickie Fowler. They told the powers that be to STICK IT.

    1. D Watts Post author

      You are referring to Lydia Ko’s first missed cut, making swing changes while at #1 in the world?

      Well, if you’re going to let your management agencies pick your coaches for you, you deserve what you end up with, as far as I’m concerned.

      Whom is coaching you shouldn’t have anything to do with management. So, if you let them dictate something as crucial as your swing coach… I can’t say I care too much when it blows up in your face.

  4. Mark

    Which is not what I have been doing. I was doing what Hogan instructed in 5 Lessons, elbows pointing down which he didn’t do himself. This is a revelation to me. This answers my question to you about my grip and all the silly “v” pointing at this or that shoulder. My grip has not been neutral all this time, hence all the inconsistent shots, hook, fades and in between.
    I am off to range to make the change. MCS is so simple. Why has the golf swing been made so complicated? Teachers of the golf swing want you to keep coming back for lessons.

    1. D Watts Post author

      “Why has the golf swing been made so complicated?”

      Mark, you answered your own question:

      “Teachers of the golf swing want you to keep coming back for lessons.”

      I’m not a teacher, I’m a researcher, and my purpose in the research was to divulge what I uncovered about swing mechanics.

      I have nothing to hide- in fact, I actually want people to own their swings and tell me to shove off after getting to that point.

      So, perhaps that’s why MCS is so simple! 😉

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