Two-time Masters champion and golf icon Jack Nicklaus has offered an inspiring, frank and honest reflection on life, love and golf — and how his wife of 50 years helped help him get back on track.
Nicklaus, who will turn 78 next month, found himself in a crisis last year and had been in and out of rehab for alcoholism. He admits in this week’s Golf Digest he was very emotional at times when he was trying to battle his demons.
“It gets to be a struggle,” Nicklaus tells the magazine. “I was confused. I knew I couldn’t drink forever. I knew I had days where I drank too much. I knew that I had a serious problem. But I went on the road to recovery because of the love of my wife. Because of her encouragement, my focus, and the love of my kids and all the people that were there for me.”
Nicklaus and his wife Barbara were married in 1962. They were parents to two teenage sons: Harry and Jackie. In 1999, Jackie became engaged to Marine Corps veteran Stephen Armstrong, and they were engaged in June 2005. Jackie married him a month later.
“I must say that when Jackie Armstrong got engaged I thought, ‘God, I want this guy,’” Nicklaus tells Golf Digest. “There were days when I wondered if maybe I couldn’t be married. But I’m totally thankful for Barbara. She kept me straight and focused. And I owe her.”
Nicklaus said he’s sure Barbara would say, “It’s time for you to get straight.”
“I had to come to terms with the fact that I had a problem,” he adds. “I just told myself, ‘If you don’t get better, I’m not going to go through with this.’”
The 90-minute Golf Digest interview is part of the magazine’s annual Masters Issue. For more on the magazine’s amazing Kennedy family coverage, click here.
Read the full story at Golf Digest.
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