Nicklaus came agonizingly close in 1975 to that Grand Slam he seeks, for between winning the Masters and the PGA, which were his 15th and 16th major championships ( Bob Jones had the record at 13, remember), he was right there in the heated dramas of Medinah and Carnoustie, needing only one more great shot to take both the U.S. and British Opens away from the leaders.
"I played well all year long because I worked harder at it," he says. "My mental preparation for the majors was especially good."
Nicklaus did more than play well. In 18 tournaments he never finished out of the top 20; he was out of the top 10 only twice; in 14 events he was among the top six; he averaged 69.8 strokes per round, his best ever; he won five times in the U.S. on some fairly demanding courses—Augusta, Firestone, Harbour Town, Pinehurst No. 2 and Doral; he took the money-winning title for the seventh time, the PGA's Player of the Year for the fourth time, and he became the first player in history to win two major championships in a single year for the fourth time, breaking out of a tie in that odd but distinguished category with that fellow named Jones and another named Ben Hogan.
Which brings up one last point. What Jack Nicklaus proved in 1975 with a devastating finality is something the golfing world has suspected all along, that he can "turn it off and turn it back on again," as the pros say, like only Jones and Hogan before him. And perhaps he can do it better than either. After all, this was the year Nicklaus particularly enjoyed the dual role of an immortal and a human being.