Nicklaus pays tribute to the late Sir Michael Bonallack


Sir Michael Bonallack died Tuesday at age 88. As many in the game paid tribute to the decorated and esteemed Englishman, Jack Nicklaus wanted to express his thoughts on his longtime friend.

These are Nicklaus’ words as shared with Golf Channel:

My nearly 65-year friendship with Michael Bonallack began at a seminal moment in my life, when I realized the game of golf would be my chosen sport and career path. It was the 1959 Walker Cup, when at age 19, I made my first trip to Scotland and, as one of the top nine amateurs in the U.S., brought with me my first real convictions about a career dedicated to the game. It was that week at Muirfield, when I met a young man from the Great Britain & Ireland team by the name of Michael Bonallack.

I immediately respected Michael as a player and a person. He was a gifted golfer, but an even more gifted individual and gentleman. My respect and admiration for Michael continued to grow with each decade of our friendship – one that my wife, Barbara, and I shared with both Michael and his wife of 64 years, Angela, who we lost in July 2022.

A kinship was at the foundation of our friendship – a shared respect and love for the game of golf. Michael’s passion for the game, along with tremendous leadership skills, was always an ever-present asset in his work with The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, and even his role as a member of the Memorial Tournament’s Captains Club.

While he always embraced our game’s traditions, Michael was an important voice through golf’s growth, evolution and global expansion. He was an influential ambassador, and someone always dedicated to properly shaping the future of the next generations of golfers.

With the passing of Sir Michael Bonallack, our sport mourns the loss of a passionate, invested and devoted advocate. And personally, Barbara and I are deeply saddened, because our lives were made richer by being able to call Michael a friend, and we will greatly miss him.

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