JOHN HOPKINS: Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to tell you about something that we're going to give Jack another thing that we're going to give Jack. The Association of Golf Writers introduced the Michael Williams Award for outstanding services to golf. We did so because we felt that there were people who had achieved outstanding things and golf and had not been garlanded in laurel leaves for doing so.
Jack Nicklaus has done outstanding things in golf, and has been recognized for doing this. No one could doubt that he hasn't. What we have seen here earlier is a further example. But we in the Association felt that we had to honor Jack with our award. We simply had to honor him. There were no two ways about it, because of what he meant to those of us who inhabit this tent and to our predecessors who worked in the forerunner of this tent when Jack arrived for his first open 43 years ago.
Think of that number 43. Some of you today were not born. It was a time when Harold McMillan was Prime Minister, a wall divided Berlin, and television in this country was black and white.
From that day to this we've covered Jack Nicklaus more than we've covered any other golfer. He has given us more to write about than any golfer. He has played longer and better in major championships than any other golfer. He has helped us to get golf on to the front page of our newspapers and magazines as well as the back page. He is and has been quite simply a thread of strong cotton running through the fabric of golf.
Now it's not just his 18 professional major championships that we're giving him this award, it's not just his three victories in The Open nor the fact that he's played in The Open for most years since 1962. It's not just that he helped revive the Ryder Cup, that he stood for fair play and honesty and integrity, it's for all these achievements and many more.
It is said and Jack has said it again just now that St. Andrews is his favorite place in golf, the place where the game started, the natural place for his career to finish. It is probably the favorite place in golf of many of us here, too. The place, incidentally, and most happily, where the Association was founded in 1938.
So if this was the most natural place for Jack to end his competitive career, then it was also the most natural place for us to honor him for that remarkable career.
Jack, you more than most, know the importance of holding a curling downhill putt, but not even you will ever really know how much you've meant to us and the Association of Golf Writers for the past half century. I've got great pleasure in asking Judy Williams, Michael's widow to come over and hand over this trophy to you with our thanks (applause.)