Tony Jacklin OBE. One of the greatest golfers ever, to honour Pontardawe Golf Club with his presence
Yet again the captain and the committee have excelled, by securing such a prestigious golfer as Tony Jacklin to be our guest speaker on Friday 21st of February. Another truly memorable night has been ingrained in Potardawe's Golf Club history.
"It makes me wonder who we could ever have as a guest speaker to top" "Tony Jacklin".
Before I go any further a massive thank you to Alan Lewis the Club Captain, all the committee, officers and the sponsors for all the hard work they put in organising a unforgettable evening. and of course a special thanks to Mal and Jan and their catering staff for once again providing us with a gorgeous dinner and keeping us well served with drinks, the service was superb, and again the beer and wine flowed well into the early hours.
Tony was born to a working class family from Scunthorpe, and practiced relentlessly to become one of the worlds greats. A great quote he made relates to his tireless practice sessions "As a young man I would practice on my own for hundreds of hours and in my mind Ben Hogan was always standing over my right shoulder making a critique of every shot." He spoke very modestly about his illustrious golfing career, his monumental Ryder Cup years, and his life. He had time to be photographed with members and speak to them on varying subjects. He was only too happy to autograph memorabilia, and nothing was too much trouble for him.
"A true ambassador for the game of golf and life in general"
It was obvious from listening and speaking to the great man that he hadn't forgotten his roots, and he came across as a very passionate, warm hearted, unassuming gentleman which was clear for all to see. The evening will always be remembered for his down to earth views on the game of golf. He told many stories about some of the great players he had met and played with such as Lee Travino, Seve Ballesteros and Jack Nicklaus to name but a few. When asked who in his opinion was the greatest golfer of all times including the modern day golfers, he was very quick to name Jack Nicklaus, telling us about Jacks ethics towards his family, his fans and the game. Considering the style of golfing equipment available to golfer's at the time, Jack became a great, using far inferior equipment to that of modern day golfers, "There is and never will be anybody to touch Jack."
Tony's playing career
By The age of 17 Tony had turned pro and begun working as an assistant pro. He was rookie of the year on the British pro circuit (the precursor to the European Tour) in 1962. In 1964 Tony won his first pro event. By 1968 he was ready to take on the world.
Tony hit the first hole-in-one to be televised live in Britain, It came on the 16th at Royal St. George's in 1967. In 1968 He became the first European player to win on the US tour at the Jacksonville Open Invitational since the 1920's. He became the first British player to win the 1969 Open Championship for 18 years, winning by two strokes at Royal Lytham & St Annes, since Max Faulkner in 1951
The following season in 1970, Tony won his second major title, the US Open, by seven strokes on a windblown Hazeltine National Golf Course. It was the only U.S. Open victory by a European player in an 84-year span (1926–2009). The European tour saw Tony win 8 events between 1972 and 1982.
Tony is best remembered for his involvement in the Ryder Cup. He played for the first "Great Britain and Ireland" team in 1967, then in 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975 and 1977 and was a member of the first European team in 1979. Tony was involved in one of the most memorable moments in Ryder Cup history at Royal Birkdale in 1969. After his eagle putt on the 17th he evened his match with Jack Nicklaus conceded Tony's two-foot putt on the 18th, halving the match, and ending the Ryder Cup with a tied score.
Tony served as the non-playing captain of Europe in four consecutive Ryder Cups from 1983 to 1989. He had a 2.5–1.5 won-loss record, captaining his men to their first victory for 28 years in 1985, and to their first ever victory in the United States in 1987. Non-Playing captain in 1983, Winning Non Playing Captain in 1985, Winning Non Playing Captain In 1987, Tied Non Playing Captain in 1989 retaining the cup.
A Quick Summary
Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts Made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 0 0 3 9 5
U.s. Open 1 0 0 0 1 2 7 4
Open Championship 1 0 2 5 5 11 28 17
PGA Championship 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 3
Totals 2 0 2 5 6 17 48 29
As a world-class golfer, he was the rock on which the foundations of the European Tour were laid, first by John Jacobs and later continued by Ken Schofield and George O’Grady.
Tony has been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame and was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1970 and Commander of the British Empire in 1990.
It would be difficult to list everything that Tony has achieved in his career and I hope I haven't missed too much out.
For me, it was one of the highlights of my years as a Pontardawe Golf Club member and as I said earlier
" Who could we have as a guest speaker to top Tony Jacklin"
Thank you Tony Jacklin, for allowing the members of Potardawe Golf Club to have such and enjoyable evening in your company.