Genesis Scottish Open

The Renaissance Club


When it comes to golfers' big fish stories, no one -- not even Jordan Spieth -- comes close to Jack Nicklaus

July 08, 2015

Jordan Spieth's story of battling a 300-pound black-tip shark for 2 1/2 hours reminded us of Jerry Pate's tale of Jack Nicklaus waging a marathon duel with a 1,358-pound marlin during a trip to the Great Barrier Reef before the 1978 Australian Open. We'll let Pate pick up the story with Jim Moriarty from the August 2001 Golf Digest Interview:

"It was about the fifth day we were fishing. I had caught one, a 1,047-pounder, the first day, and Jack was so mad, because this was like his third trip to Australia to get a big, world-class marlin and he'd never caught one over 1,000 pounds. The first day they put me on the smallest boat with the most inexperienced crew, and I came back with the biggest fish. I told Jack, 'I'll tell you what, I'm going to ride around with you for good luck, because you need some help.' I fished with him about the next three days, just drank beer and rode on the boat and watched Jack fish.

"He finally hooked up, 5 in the afternoon, with this fish. It came out of the water tail-walking, big as a whale. It got dark about 6:30, and he just kept fishing and fishing like in Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. He fished forever. Finally, about 9, I'd been in the sun drinking beer all day, I went in and laid down and took a nap, ate a sandwich, just dozed off. I got back up and looked at my watch, and it's 10:30 at night, and he's still fighting this damn fish! Finally, about 11:20, he brought it up. I'm telling you, he fought it for six hours and 20 minutes. One man fought a fish. There was no one other than Jack Nicklaus who could have done it. Or would have."

Here's the photo to prove it:

Nicklaus was so sore for the next few days he was unsure he could play in the tournament. He struggled to a 73 in the first round, then finished 66-74-71 to win by six.