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Golf News: - Posted 12th March 1998

Augusta National to honour Nicklaus

Associated Press

Jack Nicklaus, whose 36-year streak of consecutive major championships might end at The Masters, will be honoured at this year's tournament for playing in the Augusta National event 40 consecutive times.

"It's a pleasure to designate Tuesday as Jack Nicklaus Day," said Augusta National Golf Club chairman Jack Stephens. "Jack has made numerous contributions to the tournament and his six Masters wins are unprecedented."

Nicklaus first played in the Masters in 1959, having been invited because he was a member of that year's United States Walker Cup team, and missed the cut, one of only three cuts he has missed in 39 tournaments. One other time he withdrew because of an injury after one round.

He has finished in the top 10 at The Masters 21 times, the last being a sixth-place finish in 1990. Nicklaus finished 39th last year.

A ceremony honouring Nicklaus will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday of tournament week near the Augusta National clubhouse and will be open to all ticket holders.

Nicklaus, 58, has won 18 major professional championships and two U.S. Amateur titles. He won his first Masters at the then record age of 23 in 1963 and his last in 1986 at 46. He also won at Augusta in 1965-66, '72 and '75.

"I always believed I could raise my game," Nicklaus said last week at the Doral Open in explaining his success in major championships. "You've got to believe it to be able to do it."

Nicklaus was not among those offered special exemptions to the U.S. Open when the USGA announced those for this year's event at Olympic Club in San Francisco.

The USGA has until late May to change its mind and if it does not it will be the first time since 1961 that Nicklaus does not play in all four majors -- a streak that will reach 145 consecutive tournaments at The Masters.