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Mark Chapman on meeting Jack Nicklaus

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| 17:34 UK time, Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Mark Chapman and Jack Nicklaus


It's good to get those butterflies in your stomach before doing a show, to feel the nerves, to know that this is one show you just can't afford to cock up.

I had them in abundance just a couple of weeks ago as I stood in the National Museum of Scotland on a wet grey June morning. Dreich is how the locals described it. Dolly the Sheep was encased in perspex just yards away and I was waiting for the Golden Bear.

We had an hour with an audience and one of the greatest sportsman the world has ever seen and it is broadcast on 5 live on Tuesday 17 July.

Jack Nicklaus was a delight. He had flown overnight across the Atlantic, albeit on his private jet and not with his knees under his chin getting annoyed at the person in front reclining their chair, but was as fresh as a daisy. There was no great entourage with him, just a few of his buddies from America. They were going to go on and play golf with and visit Wimbledon later on in the week.

He didn't need or want to know the questions in advance, which was a good job because I hadn't written many, he was just happy to chat. And so we did. He mentioned Arnold Palmer before I did. In fact he spoke about Palmer in his very first answer. There is still a little bit of that rivalry alive even to this day. Watson, Trevino and Player all crop up and he can recall the smallest details of his tournament victories.

I particularly enjoyed listening to him talk about his '86 Masters victory when one of his sons was on his bag. The audience were keen to get his thoughts on the future of the sport, and as befits a man who is still designing and building courses around the world, he was passionate about the direction golf is going in. Want to know how to get your kids involved in the sport? Then listen to Jack on the programme.

But it isn't an hour just about golf, it is more than that. It is an hour about family, about love and about life. It is about a man without equal in his chosen field. It is about a man who, given his wealth and success, could be arrogant and aloof and yet is the complete opposite.

It is about a man who exudes warmth and wit. It is about a man who received a standing ovation when he walked into the auditorium and a standing ovation when he walked out. It is about a man who I was honoured and privileged to spend some time with.

You can listen to An Audience with Jack Nicklaus here until Monday, 23 July. You can also download it as part of our 5 live Sport Specials series.


  • Comment number 1.

    What a lesson in writing a modest and unassuming piece for this blog. Can't wait to hear this. Thank goodness Mark was sent rather than someone else.

  • Comment number 2.

    I would have preferred Robbie "the hitman" Savage, doing this piece with Jack Nicklaus.

    However Mark "Chappers" Chapman is quality, whether he is on Radio or TV, his days covering Football Italiano for Channel 5, were brillant.

  • Comment number 3.

    Agree with these 2 - Chappers is one of the best presenters.
    Bit surprised to hear him just now on the radio, saying he was surprised to see how many people were watching the players practicing ! What about F1 ?! You can learn far more watching pros on the range than the farce of F1 practice !

  • Comment number 4.

    Aah, Inverdale. Perfect.

    Please give him a major programme again AVK, he used to be so good on the Bacon slot.

  • Comment number 5.

    Re Post 2; I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Savage presenting a golf programme.

    It wouldn't be any stranger than Andrew Flintoff being involved in last night's Olympic preview for no obvious reason. It was even stranger when the programme that followed was a cricket review that he didn't stay for!

    Agree completely with the comments about Mark Chapman. I like his style that means he doesn't seem to try and be the centre of attention and lets the guest be the star.


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