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Golf legend Jack Nicklaus has revealed that he and his wife both tested positive for coronavirus.

During a rain delay at the Memorial Tournament, the 18-time major champion announced that he and his wife of 60 years contracted COVID-19 in March. 

The couple self-isolated at home in Florida from March 13 to April 20, with Nicklaus adding that he has since subsequently returned a positive test for the coronavirus anti-body.

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“Barbara was asymptomatic and I had a sore throat and a cough,” said the 80-year-old. “We’re both in an at-risk age. Our hearts go out to people who did lose lives and their families. We were just a couple of the lucky ones.”

Nicklaus had raised eyebrows earlier in the week when he revealed that he intended to continue with his time-honoured tradition of being the first to shake the hand of the new Memorial champion.

“I’m going to shake their hand,” he said in his pre-tournament press conference. “I going to walk right out there and shake your hand. If they don’t want to shake my hand, that’s fine. I’ll give them a fist bump or an elbow bump.

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“But I’m not going to give them COVID-19. I wouldn’t put anybody in that position. I wouldn’t do that, and if I was in any danger of doing that, I wouldn’t shake their hands.”

This is the first time that Nicklaus has publicly acknowledged he and his wife’s diagnoses although it is understood that the couple’s son, Jack Nicklaus II, previously told Nicklaus Companies representatives and associates.


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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