Palmer, Nicklaus to reunite at Oakmont for '16 U.S. Open

By Ron Musselman
Published on
Palmer, Nicklaus to reunite at Oakmont for '16 U.S. Open

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- Two of golf's all-time greats are scheduled to be at Oakmont Country Club next summer.

Latrobe native Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were named honorary co-chairmen on Wednesday of June's 116th U.S. Open Championship in suburban Pittsburgh.

The duo made golf history at Oakmont in 1962, when then-22-year-old Nicklaus outdueled Palmer in an 18-hole U.S. Open playoff to win his first major championship.

"Golf fans cannot help but connect these two extraordinary players to Oakmont," USGA President Thomas J. O'Toole Jr. said. "They are ambassadors for our game, and it's only fitting that they serve together as we bring our ninth U.S. Open to this storied venue."

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Palmer, 85, claimed 92 professional victories and seven major championships. He also captured three USGA titles, including the 1960 U.S. Open, the 1954 U.S. Amateur and 1981 U.S. Senior Open.

He played in his 32nd and final U.S. Open at Oakmont in 1994.

"I have treasured Oakmont since I played there for the first time when I was just 12 years old," Palmer said. "I certainly look forward to being back at Oakmont next year, even though I won't be playing. It should be a great championship on the course as it now exists."

Nicklaus, 75, captured 73 PGA Tour victories as well as two U.S. Amateurs and two U.S. Senior Opens.

"Hopefully, I don't sound presumptuous, but I am sure both Arnold and I are extremely honored to be asked to serve in these roles," Nicklaus said.

"Oakmont has always been such a very special place to both of us, and it was the backdrop for one of our great battles on the golf course. The victory I was fortunate to take away from the 1962 U.S. Open was essentially the start of my professional major-championship career.

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"That week at Oakmont also represented the start of a healthy career-long rivalry with Arnold, but far more important, the start of a lifelong friendship."

The 2015 U.S. Open will be the 16th USGA championship held at Oakmont.

When he was 18, Palmer won the 1949 Sunnehanna Invitational. Nicklaus, 15, finished fifth in the Sunnehanna Amateur in 1956.

This article was written by Ron Musselman from The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.