Arnie and Jack: Palmer, Nicklaus, and Golf's Greatest Rivalry
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By Ian O'Connor
Publication Date: 2009
Surprisingly, one of sport’s most contentious, complex, and defining clashes played out not in the boxing ring or at the line of scrimmage but on the genteel green fairways of the world’s finest golf courses. Arnie and Jack. Palmer and Nicklaus. Their fifty-year duel, in both the clubhouse and the boardroom, propelled each to the status of American icon and pushed modern golf into mainstream popularity.
Arnie was the cowboy, with rugged good looks, Popeye-like forearms, a flailing swing, and charm enough to win fans worldwide. Jack was scientific, precise, conservative, aloof, even fat and awkward. Ultimately, Nicklaus got the better of Palmer on the course, beating him in major victories 18-7. But Palmer bested Nicklaus almost everywhere else, especially in the hearts of the public and in endorsement dollars. By the end of this page-turning narrative, we see that each man wanted what the other had: Arnold wanted the trophies. Jack wanted the love.