USGA Announces Production Of '1962 U.S. Open: Jack's First Major'

One-hour documentary to air on NBC prior to this year's U.S. Open final round

By USGA
April 30, 2012

The first of 18 professional majors won by Jack Nicklaus came at the 1962 U.S. Open. (USGA Museum)

Far Hills, N.J. – The United States Golf Association today announced the production of “1962 U.S. Open: Jack’s First Major,” the USGA’s first-ever film produced for network television. The one-hour documentary chronicles Jack Nicklaus’ first U.S. Open victory in 1962 at Oakmont Country Club, which set in motion one of the most prolific careers in professional golf and at the same time ignited one of the greatest rivalries in sport between Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

1962 U.S. Open: Jack’s First Major” will premiere in the United States on Sunday, June 17, 2012, at 2 p.m. EDT on NBC (check local listings) prior to the network’s live final-round coverage of the 112th U.S. Open Championship at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. The film will make its international debut Sunday, June 10 on Sky Sports (SS3).

A preview trailer of the documentary film is available at www.usga.org/62usopenfilm.

“We’re proud to make our network television film debut by bringing golf fans around the world this compelling and dramatic documentary that celebrates the 50th anniversary of Jack’s first major championship,” said USGA President Glen D. Nager. “This film masterfully tells the story of the turning point in Nicklaus’ career, from successful amateur and collegiate player to U.S. Open champion, which set into motion a major championship record that has remained unmatched for 50 golden years.”

1962 U.S. Open: Jack’s First Major” is a USGA film, produced in collaboration with the USGA Museum and Ross Greenburg Productions, and features archival footage of the 1962 U.S. Open from the Museum’s own collection, and other archival material from Oakmont Country Club, the Jack Nicklaus Museum, Augusta National Golf Club and The R&A, and newsreels of the day. The film also includes fresh interviews with Nicklaus, Palmer and other luminaries from golf and journalism to tell the complete story of the 1962 U.S. Open Championship, from the opening round through the dramatic 18-hole playoff, covering events both on and off the course.

“Jack Nicklaus is one of the most compelling sports figures of the last 50 years, and we’re delighted to tell the story of his win at the 1962 U.S. Open through this new film,” said Robert Williams, director of the USGA Museum. “The 90 holes played at Oakmont proved to be a major turning point in golf history, as the U.S. Open validated Nicklaus’ great potential as a professional through the toughest examination in the game. It is a privilege to partner with the storytelling talents of Ross Greenburg in documenting an exciting period in USGA history and celebrating the emerging era of the ‘Golden Bear.’”

“It is an honor and a thrill to be working for the USGA on this legendary story about the 1962 U.S. Open at Oakmont,” said Ross Greenburg, a 51-time Sports Emmy Award winner. “It is also a dream come true to spend time with two icons in the world of golf, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, as they document this historic moment in each of their storied careers.”

Narrated by accomplished actor and Emmy Award® winning narrator Peter Coyote, who has lent his rich voice to over 120 films and documentaries, “1962 U.S. Open: Jack’s First Major” culminates in a retelling of the final rounds of the 1962 U.S. Open and Sunday’s dramatic 18-hole playoff, exploring the emotions of Nicklaus, the undaunted young champion, and Palmer, the hometown favorite. The film closes with reflections from Nicklaus on what the victory meant to him then and now, and how it set the tone for an unrivaled career—one that included a record-tying four U.S. Open titles and a total of 18 major wins, a record that stands today.

“I have never been one to reflect on past achievements, but this production allowed me the opportunity to look back on and relive a very significant part of my life and career,” Nicklaus said. “To the credit of the USGA Museum and Ross Greenburg Production, their combined research was evident in the interview process. They covered aspects of that U.S. Open that I haven’t thought of in close to 50 years. For example, they unearthed letters exchanged after that U.S. Open between my father and my childhood idol Bob Jones.”

“At that time in 1962, I was a 22-year-old kid with blinders on, focusing on the task at hand which was winning my first professional tournament and our national championship,” added Nicklaus. “Fifty years later, it was nice to take the blinders off and think about all the elements that made for such a meaningful week in my life.”

The film’s high-profile list of interviewees also includes: golf professionals Gary Player, Deane Beman, Dow Finsterwald and Billy Maxwell, all of whom played in the final two rounds of regulation play with Nicklaus; golf journalists Dave Anderson and Marino Parascenzo, who covered the 1962 U.S. Open; USGA Executive Director Mike Davis and Rand Jerris, the USGA’s senior managing director for Public Affairs and noted golf historian.

1962 U.S. Open: Jack’s First Major” is executive-produced by the USGA Museum and Ross Greenburg Productions.

Funding and support for the USGA film has been generously provided by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), a longtime supporter of Jack Nicklaus and the United States Golf Association. As an RBS Ambassador, Jack Nicklaus represents RBS at business and hospitality functions across the globe.

For images from the film, visit the USGA’s official website at http://photocollection.usga.org/cgi-main/viewerlogin.pl?lbjobid=95874.

About the USGA 

The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s working jurisdiction comprises the United States, its territories and Mexico.


The USGA is a global leader in the development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and funds an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” charitable giving program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries.

 

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