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, Price 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.
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. 4Jude 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 and a half 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.
In 2012, Nick Price was named Captain of the International Team for the 2013 Presidents Cup to be held at Memorial Golf Club in Ohio.
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.
NICK PRICE'S CAREER
WORLD SERIES OF GOLF
GTE BYRON NELSON GOLF CLASSIC
H.E.B. TEXAS OPEN
CANON GREATER HARTFORD OPEN
SPRINT WESTERN OPEN
FEDERAL EXPRESS ST. JUDE CLASSIC
SOUTHWESTERN BELL COLONIAL
MOTOROLA WESTERN OPEN
BELL CANADIAN OPEN
FEDEX ST. JUDE CLASSIC
CANON EUROPEAN MASTERS
SAN RENO MASTERS
SOUTH AFRICAN MASTERS
VAALS REEF OPEN
WEST END SOUTH AUSTRALIAN OPEN
AIR NEW ZEALAND/SHELL OPEN
SUN CITY CHALLENGE
ALFRED DUNHILL CHALLENGE
HASSAN II GOLF TROPHY
DIMENSION DATA PRO-AM
ALFRED DUNHILL SOUTH AFRICAN PGA
MILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE
DIMENSION DATA PRO-AM
MILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE
LIBERTY MUTUAL LEGENDS OF GOLF
PRINCIPAL CHARITY CLASSIC
PRESIDENTS CUP: 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003
DUNHILL CUP: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
1993 AND 1994 PGA TOUR LEADING MONEY WINNER
1993 AND 1994 PGA TOUR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1997 VARDON TROPHY WINNER
2002 PAYNE STEWART AWARD
Awarded to a player who shares Stewarts’ respect for the traditions of the game,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.
2002 JIM MURRAY AWARD
First recipient of award. Awarded for cooperation, quotability, and accommodation to the media.
2003 INDUCTEE INTO WORLD GOLF HALL OF FAME
2005 BOBBY JONES AWARD
Awarded in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.
2011 OLD TOM MORRIS AWARD
2013 INTERNATIONAL TEAM CAPTAIN, PRESIDENTS CUP
Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, Mossouri.
August 13-16, 1992
In 1992, Bellerive Country Club hosted the PGA Championship. The course was long, stretched out to 7148 yards and its Zoyzia grass fairways were lined with thick bluegrass rough up to four inches high.
The PGA Championship began under unusual weather conditions with temperatures closer to the 50’s than the normal 90’s.
Price began Thursday’s first round with a 71, tied with Ian-Baker Finch, the 1991 British Open champion, Greg Norman and Hale Irwin, four strokes behind Gene Sauers who shot 67.
On Friday, Price was tied seventh after a 69 for a total of 140 four strokes behind leader Gene Sauers at 136.
Nick had lost two strokes early in the third round, falling back to even par on the sixth, but he stormed back by birdying the ninth, tenth, 11th and 12th. The 12th ranked amongst the most amazing birdies he had ever made; he came out of the rough with an iron that left him more than 100 feet from the hole, gave his putt a good, solid wrap, and gasped when it fell into the hole. The monstrous putt dropped him to four under. He made one more birdie, holing a 15-foot putt from the back fringe on the 17th after laying up with his second shot. Price closed in on Sauers who finished with a 70 and led with a 54-hole score of 206. Nick Price moved from sixth to a tie for second, two strokes behind with Jeff Maggert on 208 and John Cook and Jim Gallagher on 210.
On Sunday Gene Sauers managed to save par on the first two holes after missing both greens. After his shaky start, he birdied the fourth going to eight under par, and it looked like he had the championship within reach. But he three putted the fifth and on the short sixth hole, he hit his tee shot into the water. Sauers was now tied with Price who had run off seven consecutive pars and remained at five under par, one stroke behind Maggert.
Price made ten consecutive pars with his four at the tenth. Now he made a move. Taking a one-iron from the 11th tee, he drove into a fairway bunker, then played a stunning eight iron within ten feet and holed it. He was six under par now, one stroke behind Maggert. Maggert bogeyed the 12th and was tied with Price after bogeying the 15th.
Suddenly Price took control. He hit a perfect three iron 25 feet from the hole on Number 16. John Cook, just two behind Price, missed the green. He chipped his ball into the cup; a birdie two where he might have bogeyed, and now Cook had closed within a stroke of Price.
Price had watched Cooks shot carefully. As the ball ran toward the hole he saw the break. Knowing the line now, he stepped up and holed his putt matching Cooks’ birdie.
Still two strokes apart, both men drove well on the par 5, 17th hole. Cook was to play his second shot first and now faced an agonizing choice. He needed a birdie at least, but his ball lay about 245 yards from the front of the green, beyond that intimidating pond and just outside Cook’s comfort zone. Cook chose to lay up short, pitched on, and made his par five by holing a six-foot putt. For a moment, though, Cook looked as if he might have closed in nonetheless.
Much closer to the hole, Price went for the green with his three wood and pulled the shot into the left greenside bunker. Since the hole had been cut to the center of the green about 80 or 85 feet from the front, Nick faced a very long bunker shot. He took too much sand and left his ball 40 feet short of the hole, in three-putt range. The green was faster than he realized and blew his first putt 12 foot past the hole. He was shocked, now struggling save his par.As he lined up this crucial putt, memories of the 1982 British Open flooded back. Stepping up to the ball, Price rolled it into the center of the cup and remained two strokes ahead.
Stepping to the 18th, Price gave Cook a window of hope by pulling his drive into the left rough, but he tore the ball out with a five iron to the back fringe, and when Cook pulled his approach down a bank to the left of the green, it was all over. Price parred the hole, Cook bogeyed, and Nick Price won the PGA Championship, his first Major, by three strokes.
Nick had played the last round in 70 – each round under par – and had finished with 278. Cook had shot 71, the same as Gallagher, Sauers had stumbled in with 75, and Faldo, hopelessly out of it after three rounds, had stormed to life with a closing 67, but it was far too little and too late.
Turnbery Hotel, Ailsa Course, Turberry, Scotland
Par 35-35 – 70; 6,957 yards
July 14-17, 1994
Nick first surfaced as a player of international importance in 1982, when he stood on the 13th tee at Royal Troon leading Watson by two strokes. Then he bogeyed the 13th, double bogeyed the 15th, and bogeyed the 17th. He shot 73 and finished one stroke behind Watson. Price was 25 years old then. Six years later a more mature golfer, he had gone into the last round at Royal Lytham & St Annes leading Seve Ballesteros by two strokes; But in a struggle that had brought back memories of the battle between Watson and Nicklaus at Turnberry, Ballesteros closed with 65, Price shot 69, and Ballesteros won his third British Open. Price was thwarted again.
He broke through by winning the 1992 PGA Championship and since then had won 8 tournaments in the United States. This brought him into direct conflict with Greg Norman and Nick Faldo to determine the No.1 Player in the world.
The British Open was immensely important to Price and when he arrived at Turnberry in 1994, he was determined to make up for poor outings in the first two Majors of the year.
Price began the tournament with a first round of 69, and added a 66 that left him at 135, two behind leader Jesper Parnevik and Brad Faxon.
On Saturday, Price climbed from five under par when the round began, to nine under after 17 holes, but he misplayed the 18th, and missed the chance to tie Faxon and Zoeller for the lead. His 67 and three round total of 202 left him tied with Tom Watson.
On Sunday Price had birdied the 12th and together with Zoeller, stood at nine under par, just two behind Parnevik. Having gone out in even par 35 with two birdies written off by a pair of bogeys, Price holed from 15 foot for par at the tenth after missing the green. A routine par at the 11th and an eight iron to 15 feet on the 12th, set up his third birdie of the day. However he missed the green on the 13th and played a nerveless pitch to four feet and saved par but then played a five iron to the 14th green that streaked across it through the gallery and ran 25 feet beyond.
Then with everything at stake, Price showed the fierce determination that had built up through years of experience. He played a wonderful running seven iron that bounced and rolled along the bare, uneven ground, hopped onto the green and pulled up no more than four feet from the cup. He holed the putt and saved not only his round but the championship as well. Price would reflect on them later claiming that the pars on the 13th and 14th were the keys to his winning. Still, he lagged behind Parnevik who birdied 16 and 17 that took him to 12 under par. Against this backdrop Price had holed from 14 feet on the 16th for a birdie, putting him at ten under par.
He had bogeyed no 18 the previous two days and certainly couldn’t count on a birdie there. So he had to make an eagle he thought, to get in a play-off.
Having watched a video of the famous Nicklaus – Watson encounter in 1977 where Nicklaus had difficulty contending with the moguls that front the 17th green, Price hit a four-iron second shot instead of a five-iron that would take his ball past those mounds and get back pin high or past the pin. He hit it so solidly that the ball refused to cut and headed for the left edge of the green where it took a slight bounce to the right and ran to about fifty feet from the hole.
He picked a spot on the crest of a ridge between himself and the hole and ran his putt right over the spot. Knowing he had hit the spot and had the perfect speed, he got excited as he saw the putt breaking just as he had thought. Just three feet from the hole it hit a spike mark and for an instant Price thought it would knock it off line. It went in.
Running and jumping in the air, Price hugged his caddie, Squeeky Medlin. The crowd erupted and Price couldn’t hear himself think. But he did know he had to control his emotions because he still had to play the 18th. When Price came back to earth he looked at the scoreboard and saw that Parnevik had bogeyed 18. So instead of being tied he had a one-shot lead.
Things had changed from Troon in 1982. He had won fifteen tournaments around the world since 1991. He knew what it took to bring a score home in a major with his win in the1992 PGA Championship at Bellerive.
All the experience he had gained over those years he put into practice. Taking a three-iron to make sure he hit the fairway, he hit it perfectly. He had 157 yards to the flag and took aim at a big “D” in the grandstand beyond the green. Going through his same routine, he flew the shot right at the “D”, finishing twenty five feet right of the hole and just past pin high. Misreading the speed of his putt, it came up a couple of feet short. He took his time and holed the putt for par.
Clutching the gleaming silver claret Jug, Price said “In 1982 I had my left hand on this trophy. In 1988 I had my right hand on the trophy. Now I finally have it in both hands”.
Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Par 35-35 – 70; 6,384 yards
August 11-14, 1994
Until Nick Price in 1994, no-one had played the game on such a high level since Greg Norman in 1986 and no-one since Tom Watson, in 1982, had won two of the games Major Championships in succession.
Hardened by experience and driven to excel, Price won both the British Open and PGA championship with forceful, attacking golf. He was the first since Walter Hagan in 1924 to win those championships in the same year. He won the PGA championship as few have won any of the major titles. He was overpowering, and shot 67-65-70-67-269, 11-under par over the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Ok. He led every round and won by by six strokes.
Southern Hills bared its teeth from the start. With 151 players taking their best shots at it in under nearly perfect weather conditions, the course gave up only 14 rounds under it’s par of 70 and no-one was ever lower than three under par.
Price played later in the day, when the heat reached it’s worst, but it had no noticeable effect. He bogeyed the first hole and birdied the second to be at even. On the seventh, he hit a two-iron and a seven-iron to 15 feet and holed the putt for a birdie. He three putted the ninth but played flawless golf from there in. He birdied the 12th, 13th and 17th and led the first day with Colin Montgomerie on 67.
On Friday Price birdied the first hole from 20 feet. He kept playing the steadiest kind of golf through the seventh and went out in 34. He then picked up his second birdie of the day at the tenth from 15 feet. A sensational seven iron pulled up within three feet of the cup on the 12th and Price went to four under for the day and six under for the tournament. Birdies on the 13th and 16th gave Price a 65 and a comfortable five stroke lead with a total of 132. Corey Pavin, Ben Crenshaw and Jay Haas were next at 137 followed by Jose Maria Olazabal and Blain McCallister at 138.
Despite the searing heat and humidity under a blazing sun each day, the scores continued to run low. Saturday’s round began with Price making nothing but pars through the opening holes. He simply could not make anything happen through the first nine holes, although he had some opportunities. Price bogeyed the 12th and birdied the 13th, bogeyed the 15th, birdied the 17th and finished with 70 for a third round total of 202, three ahead of Jay Haas, four ahead of Corey Pavin and Phil Mickelson and five ahead of Ben Crenshaw, Greg Norman and John Cook.
With Norman off to a fast start on Sunday, Price held his ground and birdied both the third and the fourth. Norman cooled off and no-one else made a serious run as Price demolished the competition. Price ripped a three iron into the eighth and birdied from a little more than 20 feet. With a par four at the ninth, Price had played the first nine in 32 and another glorious wedge to four feet on the tenth and a birdie took him to twelve under par. He bogeyed 11, made par at 12, birdied 13 and bogeyed 15. Price picked up his last birdie on the 16th hole, hitting a six iron to within eight feet of the hole. He was now seven ahead of Pavin and eight ahead of Mickelson.
He made his par the 17th and bogeyed the last and his 67, played under telling pressure, was at least two strokes better than any of his closest challengers could put together.
This was an immensely satisfying victory for Price. As he said, “To get my name on this trophy two out of three years, is something very special”.
By winning in Tulsa he jumped to the top of the Sony Ranking. He had won 3 majors – two PGA Championships and a British Open over three years which no-one had done since Nicklaus in 1978-80, Palmer 60-62 (5) and Hogan 51-53 (5).
ONE HALL OF A PERSON
Nick Price’s golf credentials include something more: a hall of fame heart
By Bob Verdi
It is imperative that an athlete have the numbers for induction to a hall of fame in any sport. The bonus occurs when the man or woman so honored also is blessed with hall of fame credentials. Nick Price brings an abundance of tangibles and intangibles to the podium, which might explain why due process could have happened sooner. “There’s no better guy out here than Nick,” says Davis Love III. “But he’s such a great person that might overshadow what a great player he is.” Whatever, when Price enters the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla., Monday, don’t expect him to say it’s about time, or even that it’s about me.
Players with lesser résumés than Price’s — 41 victories worldwide, including three majors — have preceded him, but if he feels the occasion is on the tardy side, rest assured he will get over it, just as he does when he posts a bad score. Price’s infrequent periods of ill-humor last about three minutes, after which he resumes his role as golf’s goodwill ambassador extraordinaire.
That’s where you delve into this area we referred to as credentials. Price’s body of work outside the ropes is as profound, if not as quantifiable, as his collection of trophies. Somewhere along the way, Price determined that there is more to being a professional than exhibiting an ability to smack a little white ball toward that cup way off in the distance with a stick of choice. Being a professional to Price means carrying oneself accordingly,communicating properly with peers and public, respecting the game and all its trappings. Acting the part of a professional does not accurately portray his disposition, however, because nothing about Price is staged. He requires no cue cards. He is as decent and genuine to little old ladies in the parking lot when the TV cameras are nowhere near as he is when he’s attempting to close the deal late on a Sunday afternoon before thick galleries.
Among lodge brothers Price is an absolute treat. I have tried to find a fellow golfer with an unkind word to say about him, and I have failed. Instead, there are kids such as Charles Howell III coming on the scene, at once looking for paydays and mentoring, who say simply, “I love Nick Price.” And there are grizzled veterans such as Hal Sutton, searching for magic on a parboiled practice range, then receiving a swing tip from a friend, who say, “Nicky didn’t have to do that.” Price is so beloved and such a mentor that he must catch himself every so often. Recently, he has huddled with Ernie Els, gently suggesting it might be time for the Big Easy to taper off his global gallivanting and concentrate on the only four weeks that matter every season: the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship. “But I must be careful,” says Price. “I don’t want to force myself on Ernie.” On the contrary, the golf community will rue the day when Price isn’t lighting up locker rooms with his wit and wisdom.
Price’s life hasn’t been all strawberries and ice cream. He lost his dad when he was a child, saw buddies die in a civil war and still agonizes daily about what transpires in his native land of Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia. Since 1980 that country has been in the chokehold of Robert Mugabe, a dictator without conscience. But Price still has family there, as does his wife, Sue, so he bites his tongue for fear of reprisals. “Besides,” Price says, “have you ever tried to tell your brother to pick up and leave home?”
Proud of his heritage, Price also is thoroughly Americanized. He enjoys all the toys and joys of this nation, but before he became this rich and this famous, he was only a younger Nick Price, not a different Nick Price. When he dominated the PGA Tour in the early ’90s, he was the same guy who went winless for seven years, only busier. You don’t get where he is without earning it, and you aren’t spoiled if you appreciate it. The test will be whether Price can make it through Monday’s speech without a cigarette. He will quit, again, soon. Sure he will. But that’s all the smoke he’ll ever blow. Starting Tuesday Nick Price won’t be a better person, but the World Golf Hall of Fame will be a better place.
October 17, 2003
NICK PRICE TO RECEIVE USGA BOB JONES AWARD
November 29, 2004 E-mail address: email@example.com
Far Hills, N.J. – Nick Price, a 2003 inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame and winner of three major championships and more than 40 professional titles worldwide, has been selected to receive the 2005 USGA Bob Jones Award.
Presented annually since 1955, the USGA’s top award is given in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. The award seeks to recognize a person who emulates Jones’ spirit, his personal qualities and his attitude toward the game and its players. It will be presented on Feb. 5 at the Association’s Annual Meeting in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Now 47, Price was the best player in the game in the 1990s, winning 15 PGA Tour events and another 12 times internationally. His highlight season was 1994 when he won six times, including top finishes at the British Open and PGA Championship, on his way to PGA Tour Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive year. In his overall professional career, he has won 18 times in the U.S. and 23 times internationally.
He has been a professional golfer since 1977 and has ranked among the sport’s top 50 leading money leaders for the last 18 seasons. He has published books on the golf swing, built golf courses and learned to fly his own helicopter and recently started his own golf apparel company. He also is the only golfer to be ranked among the top 50 of the world rankings since its inception in 1986.
More noticeable, however, is the way Price has shown his personal qualities in his daily routine, with a manner befitting the phrase, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”
“To receive this award is a great honor for me,” said Price. “I have always respected and admired Bob Jones, not only for the way he played golf, but also because of the way he conducted himself both on and off the golf course. Throughout my career, I have strived to achieve the etiquette and sportsmanship that Bob Jones exemplified.”
In 2002, Price was the first winner of the ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award from the Golf Writers Association of America for his consistent and thoughtful cooperation and accommodation to the media. Later that year, he received the annual Payne Stewart Award from the Tour for his respect for the game, his professional conduct and his commitment to charities.
“He is as decent and nice to the little old ladies in the parking lot when the TV cameras are nowhere near as he is when he’s attempting to close the deal late on a Sunday afternoon before thick galleries,” wrote veteran golf writer Bob Verdi on the eve of Price’s 2003 induction in to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
“I think the players recognize what a great guy he is,” says Davis Love III of his fellow Tour player. “People always ask who’s the nicest guy on tour, and Nick Price’s name always comes up.
“He stood by his long-time friend and caddie, Jeff “Squeeky” Medlin, while he fought a losing battle with leukemia that came to an end in 1997. He shared the spotlight in happier days with Medlin at the 1994 British Open at Turnberry, Scotland, when the two walked arm-in-arm on to the final green to a thunderous ovation before two-putting for par and the win.
He supports charities that benefit children within Palm Beach County and his native homelands of South Africa and Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia. In addition, he formed the Nick Price Junior Golf Foundation in 1997 to support junior golf development in Zimbabwe, a land of 12 million people that is torn with strife and under a strict one-party rule.
He is committed to bettering the life for those around him, particularly his family.
Just last summer when the family – wife, Sue; Gregory (13), Robyn Frances (11) and Kimberly Rae (8) – was having a well-earned vacation, Price surprisingly extended the vacation by opting out of the PGA Championship several days before the event.
“Nick is one of those people who has a firm grasp on what’s important,” says Sue. “In his soul, he thinks about others. I rarely have seen him become abrupt with anybody. He just wants to give the best of himself in whatever he does.”
A resident in the U.S. since the early 1980s, he lives comfortably in Hobe Sound, Fla., but his roots are in Africa.
Born in Durban, South Africa, to English parents, Nick was raised by his mother in Zimbabwe. His father died when he was 10 before getting a chance to introduce him to the game of golf. His older brother, Tim, showed him the game, giving him a left-handed 5-iron for his first club.
The two spent countless hours chipping golf balls through their mother’s backyard garden while pretending they were on the best golf layouts and playing for major titles.
On his first trip to the United States, as a 17-year-old, Price won the Junior World Championship in San Diego. He turned professional three years later, in 1977, but in between he learned never to take his good fortune for granted.
During that time, he served 18 months in Rhodesia’s Air Force, fighting in a civil war that would end in 1980. “The service taught me that golf is not the be-all and end-all in life and that I am fortunate to do something I love,” Price says.
Having achieved success on both the European and South African Tours between 1978 and 1982, earning his first four wins, he ventured to America where he earned his PGA Tour card for the 1983 season. Later that summer, he edged out Jack Nicklaus to win the World Series of Golf event. Along with the win, came a 10-year exemption on Tour. But there were lean years ahead and a time when he came within a week of running out of money to stay on Tour. Somehow he held on, believing that his rebuilt swing would pay dividends. It did, beginning with a win at the 1991 GTE Byron Nelson Classic. He won the 1992 PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, and then won it again in 1994 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
His last win was at the 2002 MasterCard Colonial, a year in which he topped $2 million in earnings for the first time and finished fifth in scoring average.
He sees himself playing into his 50s, and would like to add to his win total and accomplishments in the game. He has Tour wins in each of the last three decades, and he is one of only seven players since 1945 to capture consecutive majors.
No matter what the next few years bring, Price has left his mark on the game he loves. “Like Ben Crenshaw (the 1991 Jones Award winner), he’s a role model that a lot of the players out here need to pay attention to,” says Love.
“When I see a young guy who has shot 78 giving a signed ball to a kid who is there with his dad, that’s huge,” says Price. “That’s what golf is all about.”
Mr. NICE GUY; MEDIA PRAISE PRICE’S POLISHED MANNER
Tuesday April 09, 2002
By David Westin
The Augusta Chronicle
In every press room at every PGA Tour stop, reporters will tell you the same thing: Nick Price is the most accommodating player of his time to interview. He’s accessible, friendly and, most of all, Price doesn’t pull any punches. If he’s against something, he’ll tell you. There are no hidden agendas with Price.
“Being honest-I think that’s the big thing” Price said. “Honesty and integrity is part of the deal. That’s the one thing I try to do.”
Tonight, the media will thank Price for his helpfulness since he joined the PGA Tour in 1983. At the annual GolfWriters Association of America banquet, at Radisson Riverfront Hotel Augusta, Price will receive the inaugural ASAP Sports/ Jim Murray Award. According to the award’s ballot it goes to a professional for his “cooperation, quoteability and accommodation to the media.” The other players on the ballot were Ben Crenshaw, Tom Lehman and Paul Azinger.
Price’s response to winning the award is typical Price. “I pay off a lot of people, didn’t you know that?” he said, then added, “It’s really special.”
“We thought it was important to have this award,” saidMelanie Hauser, the secretary treasurer of the GolfWriters Association of America. “It’s a great opportunity to recognize a player who is willing to cooperate even when he’s busy. If he doesn’t have the time at the moment, he’ll try to find the time for you later in the day.”
Price fits that bill. One time a reporter, whom Price had never met, asked Price whether he had 10 minutes to spare for an interview. Price asked the writer what he was doing for dinner. That’s when the interview was conducted.
“I’ve had some good friends in the media over the years,” Price said.
He was born in South Africa, then moved to Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe, at an early age.
A little-known fact about Price is that he served a tour of duty in the Zimbabwean army before becoming a touring pro. Maybe that’s where he learned compassion for others and being grateful for what he has.
He downplays that notion, saying he had those qualities before he put on a uniform and served his country.
“More of it comes from your family and your parents, that’s probably the biggest thing” Price said. “My mom used to always say to me, ‘Treat other people the way you want to be treated.’ It’s not that easy to do, but if you can adopt that attitude, it certainly makes life a lot more pleasant.”
It isn’t just the media who sing praises about the 45-year old Price, who has won nearly $15 million in his PGA Tour Career. He gets it from everybody.
“I think players recognize what a great guy he is,” Davis Love III said. “People always ask who’s the nicest guy on tour, and Nick Price’s name always comes up in the top two or three. It’s just the difference between some guys who walk through the locker room before a round or after a round and you can tell what they’re thinking or how they played.
“Nice Price is the same every day,” Love said. “He says hello to everyone-he speaks to the locker room attendant, he speaks to the marshals on every tee. He’s just a genuinely nice, friendly guy who goes out of his way. It’s natural for him to be nice to them.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re in the media or the marshal on No.14 or you’re Greg Norman or some rookie on tour, he’s just nice to everybody,” Love said. “Like Ben Crenshaw, he’s a role model that a lot of players out here need to pay attention to.” Since joining the PGA Tour in 1988 Billy Andrade has witnessed just how consistent a person Price is.
At the time when Andrade arrived on the scene, Price had been on the tour for five years and had won a single tournament, the 1983World Series of Golf. From 1991 to 1994, Price won 13 tournaments, including three major championships, and was the No. 1-ranked player in the world.
“When I got out here, he wasn’t winning” Andrade said. “Then he went on that incredible roll. Nice Price is the same person today that he was in 1988 when I met him when he was a one-time winner on the tour.”
“I think that’s the ultimate compliment you can have. A lot of things happen to people when they get success, some for the good and maybe some not for the good. He’s a person who has never changed. He’s someone I respect quite a bit.” Brad Faxon agrees.
“You can get rid of that notion that nice guys finish last,” said Faxon, who has known Price since the early 1980s. “In the early 1990s, Nick had the best record of anybody.”
Another reason for Price’s popularity is simply that he’s fun to be around. In a poll of his peers by a national magazine, he ranked as one of their favorite player partners.
“He’s always upbeat and happy,” Kenny Perry said. “His enthusiasm and love of the game seem to rub off on you.”
Andrade tells the story of how in the early 1990s the PGA Tour chartered a plan for players and their families from a tour stop in Las Vegas to the next event, in Orlando, Fla., which is where Price lived at the time.
“We were having a few beers and fun on the plane, and we basically told Nick, ‘You’re going to have a party tomorrow night at your house,” Andrade said. “Sure enough, we went over to his house the next night and had a big cookout. The Faxons were there, the (Ian Baker-) Finches were there;Wayne Grady was there. It was just a lot of fun. Guys are flying their private jets now, and everybody does their own thing. You don’t get the chance to do that stuff anymore. How we enjoyed it…” Jogging his memory, Price recalls he had no problem with being told he was going to throw a party on such short notice.
“I said, ‘Sure.’We had a good one, too,” Price said. “Everyone brought something and helped us wash up, which was nice. In those days, impromptu parties always were the best ones. Billy Andrade and Brad Faxon drank a few of my beers that day, I’ll tell you that.”
“I probably did drink a lot of his beer,” Faxon said. “That’s probably why I don’t remember it.”
Don’t get the idea Price is a pushover. He rarely shows it, but there is a stern side. Once, when a fan was stepping over the bounds of decorum, Price told him, “You’re taking advantage of my good nature.”
“I always know when they’re doing that, when people ask for too much,” Price said. “That’s really hard sometimes. I can be short and I can turn around and tell people what I think of them if they try to abuse the genuineness or sincerity that I might give them.When they do that, boy, that really makes me angry.”
Price to receive Old Tom Morris Award
World Golf Hall of Fame member Nick Price has been selected to receive the 2011 Old Tom Morris Award by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
The award will be presented during the 2011 GCSAA Education Conference at Celebrate GCSAA! presented by Syngenta, Feb. 8. Celebrate GCSAA! is hosted by GCSAA President James R. Fitzroy, CGCS. The conference (Feb. 7-11) will be held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show (Feb. 9-10) at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
“Nick has had an exemplary career, both on and off the golf course,” Fitzroy said. “He is a perfect fit for the Old Tom Morris Award and we are honored to recognize him at the GCSAA Education Conference.”
GCSAA’s most prestigious honor, the Old Tom Morris Award, is presented each year 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.” Morris (1821-1908) was greenkeeper and golf professional at the St. Andrews Links Trust Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland; a fourtime winner of the British Open (1861, ’62, ’64 and ’67); and ranked as one of the top links designers of the 19th century. Price, who is from Zimbabwe and lives in Hobe Sound, Fla., has won three majors and finished second in two others. Two victories on the Champions Tour this year brings his total to three, to go with 18 PGA Tour wins and 24 international wins. Between 1992 and 1994, Price won 16 of the 54 tournaments he played in worldwide, the victories including the 1992 PGA Championship, 1993 Players Championship, and both the British Open and PGA Championship in 1994.
Price was named Player of the Year twice each by the PGA Tour and PGA of America. He earned two Vardon Trophies from the PGA of America and one Byron Nelson Award from the PGA Tour for the lowest scoring average of the season. Price was the PGA Tour’s leading money winner two times. He is a five-time member of the Presidents Cup international team and won the Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines as a 17-year-old.
Price spent 43 weeks atop the World Golf Rankings and won the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit in 1983. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003 and received the Bob Jones Award from the USGA in 2005. Price shares the course record at Augusta National with Greg Norman after a third round 63 in the 1986 Masters.
In 2002, Price was the first winner of the ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award from the Golf Writers Association of America for his consistent and thoughtful cooperation and accommodation to the media. Later that year, he received the annual Payne Stewart Award from the PGA Tour for his respect for the game, his professional conduct and his commitment to charities.
Price’s charitable foundation supports charities that benefit children within Palm Beach County (Fla.) and his native homeland of Zimbabwe. Price has been the major supporter of the Harare Shelter, a program for children in Zimbabwe and he also supports a variety of charitable programs in Palm Beach County. In addition, he formed the Nick Price Junior Golf Foundation in 1997 to support junior golf development in Zimbabwe.
Price published an instructional book, The Swing, in 1997. He has designed golf courses in the U.S., Europe, South Africa and the Caribbean, with two courses currently under construction in Cancun, Mexico.
GCSAA is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to more than 20,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. The association’s philanthropic organization, The Environmental Institute for Golf, works to strengthen the compatibility of golf with the natural environment through research grants, support for education programs and outreach efforts.