On Thursday, Jack Nicklaus turns 70, and all week we'll be celebrating the life and career of one of the greatest -- perhaps the greatest -- golfer in history. We begin at one of the pinnacles: the 1986 Masters.
When April came around in 1986, most assumed Nicklaus was past his prime at 46. After all, he had 17 major championships and worldwide respect; what did he need with another Masters? Ride off into the sunset, Jack; the Golden Bear should enjoy his golden years.
Only Jack didn't see it that way. Jack saw the younger generation that was ahead of him on the leaderboard -- Seve Ballesteros, Tom Kite, Greg Norman -- not as icons, but as targets. And he put together one of the finest back-nine runs in golf history.
It started when he birdied the 10th hole to drop to -4, but he was still five strokes behind Ballesteros. But Nicklaus would add birdies at 11 and 13 plus an eagle at 15 to breathe right down the neck of Ballesteros -- metaphorically speaking, of course, because Ballesteros was playing behind him.
On 16, Nicklaus stepped up to the tee. "Your destiny is right here," Tom Weiskopf said in the broadcast booth. And here's what happened: