Golf Channel’s Jack Nicklaus Documentary ‘Jack’ Tees Off April 9

Jack Golf Channel

The legend of the Golden Bear lives on.

Golf Channel will wrap up this year’s Masters Tournament week with a new three-part documentary series about Jack Nicklaus, arguably the greatest player in the history of golf. Nicknamed the “Golden Bear,” Nicklaus won his first professional major title at age 22 in the 1962 U.S. Open. He went on to win 17 more in his career, with his final major victory coming at age 46 in the 1986 Masters in one of the most memorable moments in all of sports.

As it did with Arnold Palmer in 2014’s Arnie, Golf Channel gathers interviews with luminaries from sports and media, and rarely seen video footage to create an in-depth portrait of Nicklaus not only as a great athlete, but also as a family man, businessman, philanthropist and ambassador for golf.

Jack video preview:

“It was just really trying to get inside his head, and give the viewer an idea of what made him so great, beyond the obvious talent and skill,” says Israel DeHerrera, coordinating producer of Golf Channel Films, who conducted numerous sit-down interviews with Nicklaus for Jack and 2016’s hourlong special ’86. “I really think you could possibly call him the most mentally strong athlete ever.”

That strength was apparent to Nicklaus’ opponents. The documentary reveals that many of Nicklaus’ competitors were intimidated by him. “I never really paid much attention to that. I knew that guys were [intimidated], but I think if you start using something like that — I’m the one that’s got to go play golf. I can’t control what they do,” Nicklaus says. “If I start saying, ‘Well, I’ve got them beat because they’re intimidated, then they’ll turn around and beat me. So I never really paid much attention to that stuff.”

Nicklaus’ record 18 major championships is a benchmark that Tiger Woods, with 14 major titles, continues to chase. The probability of Woods tying or breaking Nicklaus’ record is hotly debated. Jack will address the debate in detail, even if Nicklaus downplays the significance of the record.

“I don’t really worry about it,” Nicklaus says. “My record is what it is. If somebody comes along and beats it, then I want to be the first one there to shake his hand.”

“One of the most impressive things to me about his career is he won the last five major championships in a vacuum, in that there’s no one to chase,” DeHerrera says. “He passes Bobby Jones at 13, and he wins five more. Jack didn’t have that. He didn’t have anybody to chase after 1973.”

“Had I had a young Tiger come along at that time — I wish I would have — I would’ve loved to have competed against him,” Nicklaus says. “Maybe I would’ve made it more. Who knows? Eighteen is what I won, and that’s I guess the standard today that people have to go after. But I certainly enjoyed doing it.”

Jack, April 9-11, 9/8c, Golf Channel