Jack recalls July 15, 1978 Open Championship victory

Jack Nicklaus wins his third Open Championship on the Old Course at St Andrews.

As I have already said, I fell in love with St Andrews on my first visit in 1964, and my sentimental attachment to the town strengthened with each visit. It would be easy to say that my fondness for St. Andrews, its people and the Old Course reached a zenith in 1978. But winning there again was going to be a challenge because I had been struggling with my game for much of 1978. I spent a good deal of time with my long-time coach Jack Grout in an attempt to figure out what was wrong. I had worked with Jack since I was 10 years old, and he had become as much a friend and mentor as he was a valued instructor. After a few visits, and shortly before I headed to Scotland, Jack spotted a problem with my grip. An adjustment of no more than a quarter of an inch was all it took and my swing was right back in the groove.

Setting out to play the Old Course, I told myself that the two things I had to do that week were to putt well and stay out of the bunkers. My putting didn’t click right away (I needed 36 putts in the second round), but I only found the sand twice all week. Going into the final round, 10 players were within two shots of the lead. I was the only one of the 10 not to drop a shot that day and shot a 69 to win by two strokes.

I will never forget the scene as I walked up the 18th fairway that final round. There were Scots standing in the bleachers and hanging from windowsills, screaming wildly for me. It was an overwhelming moment. While the Scots had long ago endeared themselves to me, that day I shared a bond with them that I will not soon let slip from my memory.