Jack Nicklaus hoping for return of missing putter used to win 1986 Masters

Nicklaus says he knows where it is, but still not in possession of putter that produced history

FILE - In this April 13, 1986, file photo, Jack Nicklaus watches his shot go for a birdie, giving him the lead and the title on the 17th hole at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Joe Benton, File) (Joe Benton, AP1986)

Jack Nicklaus said it’s the only golf club he doesn’t have out of all the ones used to win 18 major championships in his legendary career.

According to an article on Michigan Golf Journal, Nicklaus has for years been missing the putter he used to win the 1986 Masters, the last and arguably most recognizable of his record 18 major championships.

Recommended Videos

He said knows where it is now. Nicklaus said that Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay bought the MacGregor Response ZT 615 putter on eBay recently.

How it got out of his possession was accidental, according to what Nicklaus said in the article written by Tom Lang.

“It’s kind of a funny story,” Nicklaus said at a sponsor’s event at the recent Ally Challenge in Grand Blanc, Michigan. “I was playing tennis for about 10 days with Ivan Lendl, Tony Roche and Billy Scanlon. They came to my house. They wanted to get ready for grass court tennis. So Ivan and I would play Billy and Tony, and we won a few sets too. Anyway, we’d play tennis in the morning and play golf in the afternoon. And Billy was putting terribly. I said, ‘Billy, try this. Just use it while you’re here.’”

The only problem is that Nicklaus never got the putter back from Scanlon.

“I didn’t know where it was,” Nicklaus said. “Finally, Ivan told me, ‘Jack I know where it is. It’s in Billy’s rec room in a trophy case.’”

Nicklaus said he didn’t know Scanlon that well, but was kindly hoping he would give the putter back, or at the very least, Scanlon could donate it for a charitable cause.

In 2021, Scanlon died from cancer.

“And now I’m dealing with his wife who wants to put it on eBay as fast as she can,” Nicklaus said. “She doesn’t own the blasted putter. It’s my putter. I never gave it to anybody. He just took it.”

Nicklaus said Scanlon’s wife wouldn’t donate it, so he tried to get Augusta National, the home of the Masters, to help buy it back for him.

No deal was reached, and the putter was sold on eBay to Irsay, according to Nicklaus and an article on Golf Digest.

“She put it on eBay and he bought it,” Nicklaus said. “Now I’ve got to call Irsay, and I do know Irsay, so I can call him. I’ll call him and figure out some way and somewhere we’ll end up getting it back.”

No doubt, it’s not only a special item for golf historians, but for Nicklaus himself.

“That’s the only golf club that I don’t have that I won a major championship with,” he said. “Irons, woods, putters, everything.”

About the Author

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.

Recommended Videos