SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 13: Jack Nicklaus poses with the newly named USGA Jack Nicklaus gold medal to be awarded to the US Open Champion starting in 2012 at a ceremony to honor Nicklaus's contributions to the game of golf prior to the start of the 112th U.S. Open at The Olympic Club on June 13, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
The USGA on Wednesday announced that it had named the winner’s gold medallion for one of its iconic golfers. The "Jack Nicklaus Medal" marks the first time since the inception of this country’s national championship in 1895 that the coin will bear anyone’s name.
"For more than six decades Jack Nicklaus has been one of golf's greatest ambassadors, embodying golf's timeless values and acting as a role model for generations of golfers and fans," USGA president Glen Nager said during a ceremony celebrating Nicklaus‘ first U.S. Open victory, a 1962 playoff victory over Arnold Palmer. "He's the quintessential U.S. Open champion."
The USGA will also add a "Jack Nicklaus Room" to its USGA Museum, which already houses wings named for Bob Jones, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, and Mickey Wright. When finished, the addition will hold artifacts from Nicklaus’ historic career, including his two U.S. Amateur wins in 1959 and 1961, said Mike Davis, executive director of the USGA.
"Kind of neat, isn’t it?" Nicklaus responded to the hoopla surrounding his legendary accomplishments. "Take an old guy and honor him. I think that’s pretty nice."