Willie Peterson, who caddied
for Jack Nicklaus during five of his six Masters Tournament championships,
is dead of lung cancer.
Peterson died at his home in
New York City on Saturday, according to his daughter, Vanessa Peterson-Fox of
Augusta. He was 66.
"Willie caddied for me at
Augusta for many years and did a great job," Nicklaus said Monday. "I enjoyed
Willie. He was a great character."
Peterson's five victories
are tied for the most in tournament history with Willie "Pappy" Stokes, who carried
winning bags in 1938 (Henry Picard), 1948 (Claude Harmon), 1951 and 1953 (Ben
Hogan) and 1956 (Jack Burke Jr.). Nathaniel "Ironman" Avery won four times, all
with Arnold Palmer.
Peterson started as a caddy
in the Masters as a 16-year-old in 1949, but never caddied for the same golfer
for more than one year until he picked up Nicklaus in 1959 when the Golden Bear
was an amateur rookie.
Their relationship continued
with Nicklaus' victories in 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972 and 1975, and Peterson was
his caddie through 1982. Jack Nicklaus II, Nicklaus' oldest son, caddied
in the 1986 Masters. Before 1983, Augusta National caddies were required at the
Plans for the funeral are
incomplete, but his daughter says it likely will be this weekend in Augusta.