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Providing for Award of Gold Medal to Jack Nicklaus

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BURTON of Indiana. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

First of all, let me say this about Joe. Joe and I have been friends for a long time and have played golf together, and he is one of the best sticks around. I have never heard a more thorough conversation about a person since I've been in Congress. You must have spent weeks doing this, but you said everything I was going to say, so I'll just talk about the Jack Nicklaus from what I know of him.

I've been playing golf along with you, Joe, for a long time. One of the things that I've always wanted to do was to meet the Big Three. Remember the Big Three: Nicklaus, Player, and Palmer? You did him not too long ago. And then Lee Trevino. I had the opportunity to meet all of them but Nicklaus, and I said before I die that I want to meet Jack Nicklaus.

This year, believe it or not, I was at an airport with my wife, and I had an opportunity to run into him, and he was one of the nicest guys that I've ever met. He stopped and took the time to talk to people that were with us and took pictures with us, and he is just a very good and friendly guy. There are no airs about him. He is down to Earth. It's like talking to your next door neighbor. He is a very nice guy.

The things that really appealed to me were the things that you talked about, Joe. He really cares about his fellow man, and people on the tour all respect him. There are some members that you have a problem with; but with him, he's at the very top. In addition to winning 18 majors--to win all of the tournaments that you talked about just boggles my mind.

So I would just like to say if Jack Nicklaus might be watching today--I had an opportunity--and I think you have too, Joe--to play with President George W. Bush. I would say to Jack Nicklaus if he were here: You really need to teach him how to putt. He's one of the worst putters I've ever seen.

Mr. President, I hope you'll forgive me for that.

In fact, I want to tell you a little story. We were playing on the 18th hole out at Andrews, and the President had putted so poorly that he had about a 10-footer left on the last hole, and we gave it to him.

Mr. President, forgive me.

Let me just say it's a real honor to be included with those who are honoring Jack Nicklaus tonight. He's one of the finest people in sports. He is a credit to humanity, and he is somebody that every one of us can look up to.

Mr. Nicklaus, I'm proud to be a part of recognizing you tonight, and I'm glad you're going to get this gold medal.


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