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Following Nicklaus’ Big Shot, Looking Back on ‘My Life in Golf’

April 10, 2015

By Aaron Mansfield, Mark H. McCormack Dept. of Sport Management, MS ’15

Nicklaus manuscript
On Wednesday, Jack Nicklaus showed the world he still had it. Competing with Gary Player and Ben Crenshaw – Nicklaus sank a hole-in-one in a Par 3 contest before the start of the Masters.

Here is video of the incredible shot, via Deadspin.

Golfers paused during their rounds to cheer for Nicklaus’ accomplishment. Nicklaus, now 75, retired from competitive golf in 2005.

On Thursday morning the Big Three of Arnold Palmer, Nicklaus, and Player kicked off the ceremonial tee shot to start the Masters. Palmer separated his shoulder last year and did not participate in the Par 3 contest the day before, but got to tee off first.

Mark H. McCormack represented all of the Big Three at one point. Today in the McCormack Collection, we found a draft of Nicklaus’ autobiography, The Greatest Game of All: My Life in Golf. At 385 pages (the finished product was 416), the draft was close to being ready, though it’s worth noting that the first part of the title was changed from “The Best Game of All” to “The Greatest Game of All.”

The manuscript, which Nicklaus wrote with golf writer Herbert Warren Wind, was eventually published in 1969, to tremendous reviews. It currently has a 4.8/5 rating on Amazon.

Nicklaus wrote the autobiography – which covers his life, his memories of golf, and tips for other players – when he was 28. He sure had a lot of golf to play and life to live after that.

Jack Nicklaus’ Invitation to the Masters, 1963

April 14, 2014

Though Tiger Woods absence got much of the attention at the Masters this weekend, we wanted to turn our attention to another golfer’s story at the Masters. We recently found the invitation for Jack Nicklaus to play in the 1963 Masters Tournament among Nicklaus’ files in the McCormack collection. This was Jack’s first win in the Masters, out of a total of six.

Masters invitation for Jack Nicklaus

That was a heady year for Jack, not only winning the Masters as the then-youngest pro and the PGA Championship, plus coming off his first professional win at the US Open in 1962.

This year Nicklaus, Palmer, and Player hit the honorary opening tee shots for the Masters. Nicklaus, at 74, still shot the farthest.

Thanks go to Jessica Wong, one of our UMass undergraduate archives assistants, for discovering this little historical gem in the collection.

Bollettieri to be inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame

March 3, 2014

Congratulations to Nick Bollettieri. Today the International Tennis Hall of Fame announced that he would be included among a group of five honored for their contributions to tennis. In 1987 Mark H. McCormack and IMG bought the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Bollettieri had started the academy in 1980 on what was then tomato fields. The tennis academy became the foundation of IMG Academy, which now includes premier level training in 8 different sports.

Today in the Mark H. McCormack Papers I found a letter from McCormack to Sony suggesting Andre Agassi and the Bollettieri Academy might make for a great relationship with Sony. We thought you might like to see a letter selling one of the greatest tennis players of all time with one of the greatest coaches. Let me know if you’d like to see the rest of the proposal.

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McCormack Education Innovation Fund opportunities

February 24, 2014

mhm_booksWe are excited to announce the launch of the Educational Innovation Fund with our partners at the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the Isenberg School of Management. The Fund is designed to spark entrepreneurial educational initiatives that leverage the unique assets of the McCormack collection to create new publications, products, and programs that transform the educational experience for students interested in sport management.

Funding for partner stipends and new business initiatives ranges from $10,000 to $50,000. The McCormack Center for Sports Research and Education, housed in the McCormack Department of Sport Management, will administer the Fund.

Find out more about proposal requirements and how to apply.

Open for research!

February 20, 2014

Welcome to the blog of the Mark H. McCormack Papers. This huge collection of documents, letters, business records, photographs, and objects (including golf clubs!) records the life of Mark H. McCormack and the stratospheric development and growth of IMG Worldwide, one of the largest sport, media, and fashion companies in the world.The collection is housed in the Special Collections and University Archives department in the Du Bois Library at UMass Amherst.

Our blog will give you a insider look into finds from the collection and research happenings,  plus news and events with our partner, the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at Isenberg School of Management.

Please feel free to leave comments and let us know what kind of sport and marketing history you’re interested in learning more about. The McCormack Papers covers more than 50 years worth of growth of professional sports and the sport marketing industries. In upcoming posts I’ll cover more on the scope of the collection (you can get a taste on About the Papers), plus some of the weird and wonderful things we’ve stumbled upon so far.

We have to thank the McCormack family for donating the collection to UMass Amherst. Without their generosity, a fascinating chunk of history and popular culture would be lost. What a fun job going through this collection is!