1986 Masters: Barbara, Jack had special connection

Masters champion Jack Nicklaus walks down a fairway followed by his sons Michael, and Jackie who is also his caddy, during a practice round at the 1986 U.S. Open site at Southampton, N.Y. June 11, 1986. First round play was to begin two days later at the Southampton course.

Jack Nicklaus had a few surprise guests at the 1986 Masters – including his mother, Helen Nicklaus, who returned to Augusta National having not seen her son play a Masters since 1959, and his sister, Marilyn Hutchinson. With his oldest son, Jackie, on the bag that week, Nicklaus didn’t lack for family support.

“I think the neat part of that week, in my opinion, was having my son Jack on the bag and having my mother there,” Jack Nicklaus said. “It was the first time she had actually been to the Masters since I was a pro. She went down the first year when I was an amateur. And I don’t know why, but she said she wanted to go back one more time, and she did.”

She picked a good year.

Of course, Barbara Nicklaus was always the strongest supporter. She had seen her husband play more than 50 rounds at Augusta National, often walking alone in his massive galleries.

Throughout the round, Jack and Barbara would make eye contact. It was a way for them to connect and for Barbara to quietly show her support.

When Jack tapped in for his par at the 18th hole, Barbara never saw the hug that her husband gave Jackie. She eventually would see it on tape later that night at their rented house.

For Barbara and Jack, the final hour of the Masters started with a hug in Butler Cabin. She stayed calm as her husband paced. And when Greg Norman missed his final putt, Jack owned his sixth Masters, and the celebration started.

“It was so cute when they finally realized that Jack had won – I mean, all the security guys in there just went wild,” Barbara said. “And it was wonderful. They were so happy, and it just made us so happy.”

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