'Golden Bear' Jack Nicklaus to help celebrate GAM's 100th anniversary

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Jack Nicklaus, right, is planning a special appearance in Metro Detroit in June.

A 10-carat diamond is the official stone for a 100th-anniversary celebration. But the Golf Association of Michigan is going a different route — gold, as in the Golden Bear.

Jack Nicklaus is coming to Metro Detroit for GAM's 100 celebration gala on Monday, June 17, set for Oakland Hills Country Club.

Nicklaus, who turned 79 last month, will return to the famed club where he won the 1991 U.S. Senior Open, beating Chi-Chi Rodriguez in a playoff. He also finished fourth in the 1961 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills, when he was an amateur golfer from Ohio State.

At the GAM celebration, NIcklaus will participate in a dinner, a VIP meet-and-greet, and golf on the legendary South Course, which will close in the fall until 2021 as it undergoes major renovations in hopes of luring more major championships to Bloomfield Township.

Details on how to participate in the Nicklaus event will be released at a later date.

"Jack Nicklaus is the greatest golfer of all-time and it will be great to have him back at Oakland Hills," said David Graham, GAM's outgoing executive director.

"It's a special spot for him."

Nicklaus' visit will coincide with the Michigan Amateur, which will take place that same week at Oakland Hills' North Course. The visit also comes the same month as the PGA Tour returns to Michigan for the first time since 2009 — and into the city of Detroit for the first time — with the Rocket Mortgage Classic, to be played at Detroit Golf Club from June 27-30. That gives Michigan four annual major pro stops, including two LPGA Tour tournaments (Midland, Grand Rapids) as well as one Champions Tour tournament (Grand Blanc).

Nicklaus, owner of 18 major championships, plays little golf these days, instead focusing mostly on his expansive golf course-design business. He has designed and built four courses in Michigan: TPC of Michigan in Dearborn, Wabeek Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Harbor Shores Golf Club in Benton Harbor (check out this putt!) and The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, near Traverse City.


Twitter: @tonypaul1984