Sometimes you stumble upon a great bit of history without even trying. Take, for example, this photograph of Jack Nicklaus at the Walt Disney World Open Golf Tournament. The event ran from 1971 through1973 before becoming a two man team event between 1974 and 1981 and known as the Walt Disney World National Team Championship. The individual tournament would return in 1984 and continued until 2012 under a variety of names, including Oldsmobile Classic, Funai Classic, and Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Classic, to name just a few.
Nicklaus won the event all three years when it was the Walt Disney World Open Golf Tournament. While he would win the inaugural event with a three stroke lead fifteen-under-par, this photo captures him during the December 3, 1971 first round when he was not in the lead. Terry Dill had completed his first round with a seven-under-par 65. Nicklaus had to mark his ball after play had been called for the day because of a driving rain.
It the scheme of Walt Disney World’s history, Jack Nicklaus marking his ball during the original golf tournament to be held on the Palm and Magnolia courses may not rank very highly. Yet, there is something charming and lovely about this moment to me.