Today, the House of Representatives approved legislation introduced by Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) that awards the Congressional Gold Medal to philanthropist and world famous golf professional Jack Nicklaus. The Jack Nicklaus Gold Medal Act, H.R. 4040, officially recognizes Nicklaus for his service to the nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf, and was passed in the House by a 373 to 4 vote.
"Jack Nicklaus is a true humanitarian and a giant among golfers," said Rep. Baca. "Through his dedication to helping others, his success in business and his prowess on the links -- Mr. Nicklaus has grown his sport and served as an exemplary American. I thank my colleagues for joining me in support of this legislation granting Congressional recognition on the life and achievements of Jack Nicklaus."
Rep. Baca continued, "When an individual can give back not only to his community, but also to the United States, and still achieve the greatness and professional success Jack Nicklaus has worked so diligently for throughout his lifetime, it speaks immeasurable volumes about his character."
Through his charitable foundation, Jack Nicklaus has raised over $12 million to support pediatric health services for countless children in Florida and across the nation. He also serves as a spokesperson and trustee for the First Tee Program, which is dedicated to bringing the game of golf to children who would otherwise not be exposed to it. In addition Mr. Nicklaus serves as Honorary Chair for the American Lake Veterans Golf Course in Tacoma, Washington, a course designed for the rehabilitation of wounded and disabled veterans.
"I truly believe that Jack Nicklaus is deserving of this honor," concluded Rep. Baca. "But it's not just about his success on the links -- although as a competitive golfer myself I certainly respect his athletic talent and winning results. However, Jack also has contributed significantly to American society and culture, and has been a true champion for pediatric health services through his work in the Jack Nicklaus Foundation. He is an outstanding role model for America's young people."
Also known as the "Golden Bear," Jack Nicklaus is not only a world famous golf professional, but also a highly successful business executive, a prominent advertising spokesman, and a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He has been the recipient of countless honors including virtually every national award in golf, the 2005 Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Sports Illustrated's award for Best Individual Male Athlete of the 20th Century.
Jack Nicklaus finished his professional golfing career with 73 official PGA victories, including a record 18 major championship wins.