But he added, "On the other hand, it's just a number, isn't it? Jones won his 13 in a shorter length of time, and he had fewer tournaments to try for."
Maybe we need to dwell on history for a second, to put it all in perspective. Bobby Jones won five U.S. Amateurs, four U.S. Opens, three British Opens and one British Amateur. This was the record Nicklaus was trying to beat. Now we find Jack with four Masters titles, three U.S. Opens, three PGAs, two British Opens and two U.S. Amateurs. Thus, having begun as an amateur and then turned pro, he has had five championships to try for instead of Jones' four.
"We need an asterisk, I guess," Nicklaus smiled.
Well, Jack, just in case you may be trying to dream up some goals for yourself, there are those historians who will argue that the career record is still out there; that Jones never held it at all. Walter Hagen did. How's that again?
Of course. In Walter Hagen's day the Western Open was considered a major championship, back there before they had the Masters. The pros got a bonus for winning it, just as they did for winning the U.S. and British Opens and the PGA. Way back then, in emotion, in publicity, in endorsements, the somewhat forgotten Western Open was a biggie, and that dad gum Walter Hagen, you know what he did? Along with his five PGAs, his four British Opens and his two U.S. Opens, that indomitable Walter Hagen went out and won five of them. That's 16 major championships for Hagen, Jack.
Sorry. You're two short.
Jack Nicklaus whooped appreciatively. He was back in the home he had rented for the week in Cleveland, pouring champagne for his pals. Booking the hunt.
"Let me up, will you?" he said with a smile.