Posted: 1:26 pm Thursday, April 7th, 2011
By Matt Porter
Though the stories are stuff of sports legend, Nick O’Leary never learned much about the playing career of his famous grandfather, Jack Nicklaus.
The former Dwyer football star and Florida State signee got a close look at Nicklaus’ old stomping grounds Wednesday when he caddied for his grandfather during The Masters par-3 contest, the traditional starter for the famous tournament at Augusta National in Georgia.
It’s been 25 years since Nicklaus, at age 46, made a dramatic final-round charge to win his sixth green jacket, becoming the oldest player to do so. Everyone at Augusta knows about it, and everyone has been asking Nicklaus about it.
Everyone, as the Newark Star-Ledger reported, except O’Leary.
“I had no idea,” O’Leary said Wednesday. “Never knew about it until just before we got here. I saw the books about the 1986 Masters and asked him if he won. Didn’t know he did it at 46, either. … He doesn’t talk about that stuff much, so I didn’t know.”
O’Leary learned about his 71-year-old grandfather’s exploits, though. “It’s been pretty cool so far,” he said of his Masters experience. “He’s like the mayor down here.”
O’Leary had a chance to take a swing for his grandfather. From Palm Beach Post golf writer Edgar Thompson, at Augusta covering the tournament:
Nicklaus had his caddy, grandson Nick O’Leary, come out and take a cut at the ball, with the day’s largest crowd surrounding the tee box.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound O’Leary – a Dwyer High football star who committed to Florida State – didn’t flinch, hitting the ball high and well left just short of the crowd 150 yards away on the water’s edge.
O’Leary’s shot drew a smile from Jack.