Jack Nicklaus has penned a heartfelt tribute to Sir Sean Connery, following the James Bond actor’s death yesterday at the age of 90.
Eighteen-time major champion Nicklaus described the Scottish icon, whom he got to know well through golf, as “just the best”.
The tribute was posted on the 80-year-old’s social media channels.
It read: “The world has lost a wonderful actor, a wonderful man, and someone truly special in our family’s world. I have known Sean Connery for close to 50 of his 90 years. He loved the game of golf - Sean was a pretty darn good golfer! - and we played together several times. Sean was an original member of Muirfield Village Golf Club, when we opened in 1974, and I believe he was an original member of the Memorial Tournament’s Captains Club.
“In May of 1993, Sean and legendary driver Jackie Stewart helped me open our design of the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles in Scotland. We even did a TV match, playing with hickory-shafted clubs on the Old Course at St Andrews with Glen Campbell and Ben Crenshaw. The game of golf allowed our lives to intersect often, and through that, we became good friends.”
Nicklaus went on to say that his admiration for Connery extended beyond golf, adding that he was a huge fan of the Scot’s films – and not just the James Bond ones.
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“I loved the ones beyond that - be it drama or comedy,” he said. “If I picked up the newspaper, and saw there was a movie playing with Sean Connery in it, you can bet I went!
But I also became a big fan of Sean Connery the man. He had this certain, wonderful air about him. He was always so pleasant, so kind. I loved being around him.
“Sean even took the time to coach me and help me when I was doing TV or commercials. I will never forget when he told me to always have a prop, such as a golf club, in your hand, when you’re talking, because if your hands are occupied, you don’t have to worry about where your hands might go. It’s those little things that I will always embrace as memories from my friendship with Sean.
“And, of course, there was his voice—that distinctive, deep Scottish accent that embodied elegance. People kid that Sean could read the phone book and it would be entertaining. We were very blessed when Sean agreed to narrate the video that plays in the family theatre in the Jack Nicklaus Museum on the Ohio State campus.”
Nicklaus’ tribute concluded with a funny personal anecdote.
“I remember once Sean called the house after my hip surgery in January 1999,” he wrote. “We weren’t home, so he left a message. Everyone wanted to hear it! But Barbara played it for our daughter Nan, and then erased it. ‘You did what? You erased a message from Sean Connery!’ We had fun with that.
“Above all, Sean was a really nice man. I always enjoyed my conversations and my time with him. Sean Connery was just the best, and we will miss him greatly. Barbara and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Micheline, his wife of 45 years, and to his countless fans - a group we are proud to say we are a part of and always will be.”
Connery passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in the Bahamas on Saturday. Several other golfers, including Sir Nick Faldo and Lee Trevino, also paid their respects to the Scot on social media after the news broke. You can read those here.