A new documentary about the Golden Bear, “1962 U.S. Open: Jack’s First Major,” and the first-ever United States Golf Association film produced for network television will air before the final round of the 2012 U.S. Open. The one-hour documentary chronicles Jack Nicklaus’ first U.S. Open victory in 1962 at Oakmont Country Club, which set in motion one of the most prolific careers in professional golf. It also inspired one of the great rivalries in sport between long-time friends Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.
“1962 U.S. Open: Jack’s First Major” will premiere in the United States on Sunday, June 17, 2012, at 2 p.m. EDT on NBC, prior to the network’s live final-round coverage of the 112th U.S. Open Championship at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. The film will make its international debut Sunday, June 10 on Sky Sports (SS3).
“We’re proud to make our network television film debut by bringing golf fans around the world this compelling and dramatic documentary that celebrates the 50th anniversary of Jack’s first major championship,” said USGA President Glen D. Nager. “This film masterfully tells the story of the turning point in Nicklaus’ career, from successful amateur and collegiate player to U.S. Open champion, which set into motion a major championship record that has remained unmatched for 50 golden years.”
The film tells the complete story of the 1962 U.S. Open Championship, from the opening round through the dramatic 18-hole playoff, covering events both on and off the course.
Narrated by accomplished actor and Emmy Award® winning narrator Peter Coyote, “1962 U.S. Open: Jack’s First Major” culminates in a retelling of the final rounds of the 1962 U.S. Open and Sunday’s dramatic 18-hole playoff, exploring the emotions of Nicklaus, the undaunted young champion, and Palmer, the hometown favorite. The film closes with reflections from Nicklaus on what the victory meant to him then and now, and how it set the tone for an unrivaled career—one that included a record-tying four U.S. Open titles and a total of 18 major wins, a record that stands today.
The film’s high-profile list of interviewees also includes: golf professionals Gary Player, Deane Beman, Dow Finsterwald and Billy Maxwell, who played in the final two rounds of regulation play with Nicklaus; golf journalists Dave Anderson and Marino Parascenzo, who covered the 1962 U.S. Open; USGA Executive Director Mike Davis and Rand Jerris, the USGA’s senior managing director for Public Affairs and noted golf historian.
“I have never been one to reflect on past achievements, but this production allowed me the opportunity to look back on and relive a very significant part of my life and career,” Nicklaus said. “To the credit of the USGA Museum and Ross Greenburg Production, their combined research was evident in the interview process. They covered aspects of that U.S. Open that I haven’t thought of in close to 50 years.For example, they unearthed letters exchanged after that U.S. Open between my father and my childhood idol Bob Jones.”
“At that time in 1962, I was a 22-year-old kid with blinders on, focusing on the task at hand which was winning my first professional tournament and our national championship,” added Nicklaus. “Fifty years later, it was nice to take the blinders off and think about all the elements that made for such a meaningful week in my life.”