Jack Nicklaus Was Forced to Drop Out of Ohio State Before His Graduation – Here’s Why

Published 11/01/2021, 1:17 PM EDT
Jack Nicklaus of the United States follows his ball onto the after driving off the 9th tee during the 112th Open Championship on 14 July 1983 at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Cannon Collection/Allsport/Getty Images)


Jack Nicklaus is one of the greatest golfers of all time. Moreover, he has won the most major championships in the history of the sport. However, setting aside his glorious achievements, it’s not always been rosy for the legend. 

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Initially in his career, Jack was forced to drop out of the Ohio State University before he completed his graduation. Let us see why. 

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What did Jack Nicklaus study?

Jack Nicklaus tried his hands at multiple professions, like being a pharmacist and even an insurance salesman. However, nothing seemed to work for him. Soon later, he began studying at the Ohio State University in 1957. Jack’s father, Charlie, who was a pharmacist, asked Jack to do something that would help him develop his golf.

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So, Jack made a switch and joined a business school. Soon, he got a license to sell insurance policies but failed miserably, yet again. However, he continued to do that for a year and a half before going to play the Tour in 1961.

Why did Jack drop out of the Ohio State University? 

Over the course of time, Nicklaus made immense progress as a golfer as he nearly won the U.S. Open and was a U.S. Amateur champion and a Walker Cup team member. He played the circuit until September and won another U.S. Amateur title and went back to school to complete his education. 

Moreover, he asked all his instructors for permission, as he had to travel to Australia for two weeks. Since he had good grades, he thought getting permission wouldn’t be a problem. “Well, I had five classes. I think four of the instructors said, ‘Fine, no problem.’”

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THE WOODLANDS, TX – MAY 07: Jack Nicklaus hits a shot during the 3M Greats of Golf during the second round of the Insperity Invitational at The Woodlands Country Club on May 7, 2016 in The Woodlands, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

However, Nicklaus said a new professor complained to James McCoy, dean of the college. “Jack, I can’t have a student of ours going to Australia playing golf when you’re enrolled here,” responded McCoy.

“I said, ‘What do you mean? Why not? As long as my grades are up, the instructors don’t mind,'” Nicklaus recalls. “He says, ‘No. I’m not gonna let you do it.’ He says, ‘I want you to drop out of school.’ So I dropped out of school.”

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Hence, the legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus had to drop out of Ohio State before his graduation. However, he did get a degree later from the University of St. Andrews. 

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Amey Kulkarni

513 articles

Amey Kulkarni is a Golf writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in mass media from HR College, Mumbai. Before joining EssentiallySports he used to write articles on Golf and Cricket on his personal blog cricgolf.

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