3-time major winner Nick Price recalls his win at the 1993 Western Open at Cog Hill, the late-patriarch of Chicagoland public golf Joe Jemsek and the long and wonderful history of the tournament conducted by the Western Golf Association to benefit the Evans Scholarship Foundation, "FORE the Good of the Game."
Professional Golfer, Golf Course Designer
Nick Price was born in Durban, South Africa and, at a young age moved to Zimbabwe where he grew up. He was introduced to golf by his older brother, Tim, who gave him his first club, a left-handed 5-iron.
On his first trip to the United States as a 17-year-old, Price won the Junior World Championship in San Diego, defeating the strongest field of the year. He turned pro in 1977 and established himself as a promising newcomer first on the Southern African Tour and European PGA Tour where he won four tournaments through 1982. That same year he disappointingly finished second in the Open Championship to Tom Watson after leading in the third round
Price graduated to the PGA TOUR in 1983 when he went wire-to-wire to defeat Jack Nicklaus by two strokes at the World Series of Golf for his first TOUR victory.
He suffered through a dry spell, winning only twice, in South Africa and Europe, while he rebuilt his swing with instructor David Leadbetter. It was a slow, upward battle, an internal fight fueled by his intense desire to become the game's number one player.
Having crafted one of the most fundamentally sound golf swings in the game, Price was rewarded for his hard work. In 1991 he won the Byron Nelson Classic and the Canadian Open. Then, from his breakthrough victory at the 1992 PGA Championship through the 1994 season, Nick Price dominated international golf.
In 1993, he won four PGA TOUR events, including THE PLAYERS Championship, and was named PGA TOUR Player of the Year. He won the Vardon Trophy (lowest scoring average) and the Arnold Palmer Award as the PGA Tour's leading money winner.
Price then turned in one of golf's great seasons in 1994, winning six times, including the British Open and PGA Championship. He again led the money list and was named Player of the Year for the second year running.
In August 1994 Price was ranked the world's No. 1 golfer, a position he held for 43 consecutive weeks, a stretch that since then, has only been bettered by Tiger Woods.
No one won more PGA Tour tournaments, fifteen, in the 90's than Nick Price. He also won an additional 12 international events in that decade. Price is one of only three players in the 1990s to win two major titles in the same season, joining Nick Faldo in 1990 and Mark O'Meara in 1998. He is one of only seven players since 1945 to capture consecutive majors (Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods). Winning three major tournaments in two years was a feat not matched since Nicklaus did it in 1980, Palmer in 1962 and Hogan in 1953.
The Zimbabwean has been a dominant force worldwide and is commonly regarded as one of the kindest and most personable people in the game. The loss of his longtime caddie and friend Jeff "Squeeky" Medlin in 1997, was powerfully felt by Price and others in golf.
In 1998 Price won the FedEx St. Jude and then in 2002, Price won his last PGA Tour event, the Mastercard Colonial. At the end of the year, he had won more than $2 million in a season, for the first time in his career, while finishing fifth in scoring average. He was ranked in the top 10 in the world at the age of 45.
Price has tallied 18 PGA TOUR victories and 24 International wins. He finished in the top 50 on the money list for 17 consecutive seasons and was ranked in the Top 50 in the world for 17.5 years.
After turning 50 in January 2007, Price joined the Champions Tour. He won the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am in 2009 and won twice in 2010 - the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf and the Principal Charity Classic. He continued his good form into 2011 by winning the Toshiba Classic.
Price has represented Zimbabwe twice at the World Cup in 1978 and 1993; Played eight times in the Dunhill Cup, 1993 through 2000; and five times for the International Team in The Presidents Cup, 1994 through 2003.
In 2002, Price was the first recipient of the ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award, given to a professional player for his cooperation, quotability and accommodation to the media, and for reflecting the most positive aspects of the working relationship between athlete and journalist.
That same year, Price was also presented with the Payne Stewart Award, given annually to a player sharing Stewart's respect for the traditions of the game, his commitment to uphold the game's heritage of charitable support and his professional and meticulous presentation of himself and the sport through his dress and conduct.
On October 20, 2003 Price was inducted into the World Golf Hall Of Fame at a ceremony in St. Augustine. He became its 99th member.
In 2005, the USGA presented the 2005 Bob Jones Award to Price in recognition of his distinguished sportsmanship in golf. The award recognizes a person who emulates Jones' spirit, his personal qualities and his attitude toward the game and its players.
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America presented their most prestigious award, the Old Tom Morris Award, to Price in 2011. The award is presented to an individual who, through a continuing lifetime commitment to the game of golf has helped to mold the welfare of the game in a manner and style exemplified by Old Tom Morris.
Nick Price was named the 2011 Ambassador of Golf by Northern Ohio Golf Charities. The Ambassador of Golf Award is presented annually to a person or persons who have fostered the ideals of the game on an international level and whose concern for others extends beyond the golf course.
Since the early nineties, Price has collaborated on the design of golf courses with several architects including Tom Fazio. He is now working on his own through his own company, Nick Price Golf Course Design, on projects in the United States, Caribbean, United Kingdom and South Africa.
Nick is married to Sue and has three children Gregory (8/9/91), Robyn Frances (8/5/93), Kimberly Rae (9/9/96). They live in Hobe Sound Florida. Nick plays out of McArthur, a course that he co-designed.