That’s not necessarily the case.
Jack wasn’t officially dubbed as the Golden Bear until October of 1961, about a month before he turned pro. And the originator, surprisingly enough, was a sportswriter from Australia.
Don Lawrence of the Melbourne Age newspaper was asked by sports agent Mark McCormack what he thought of the young Nicklaus. Lawrence replied that Nicklaus looked like a “big, cuddly golden bear.” Lawrence then started to refer to Nicklaus as the “golden bear of golf.”
The name not only stuck, it was perfect. Nicklaus’ blonde hair was indeed golden, and he prowled the course like a bear. The ties to his high school mascot made the description even more fitting. The Golden Bear was born — and it’s become the inspiration for the logo that adorns Nicklaus’ apparel line.