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Ohio lawmakers want to honor Jack Nicklaus with Congressional Gold Medal

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Columbus-area Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Twp., are renewing their push to give golfer Jack Nicklaus the Congressional Gold Medal.

The duo introduced the measure timed to the 38th Memorial Tournament this week in Dublin.

“His accomplishments on the golf course are amazing, but the work the Golden Bear does to help those in need, especially children, is truly remarkable,” said Tiberi. “His work to raise funds and further causes to improve children’s health, support the well-being of less fortunate children, and help improve the lives of wounded and disabled veterans is inspirational.”

If he were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, Nicklaus would join a group that includes Bob Hope, George Washington, Robert Frost, Joe Louis, and Mother Teresa. He wouldn’t be the first golfer awarded: Arnold Palmer received the honor in September 2012. Nor would he be the first Ohioan to receive the award: Ohioans Neil A. Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon and former Sen. John Glenn, the first man to orbit the earth, received the honor with fellow astronauts in 2011. Nicklaus himself was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November, 2005 by former President George W. Bush.

Nicklaus, a five-time PGA Player of the year and Columbus-area native, founded the Memorial Tournament, a PGA Tour golf tournament played on a Nicklaus-designed course in Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

Nicklaus, 73, campaigned heavily for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Ohio in 2012, with Romney calling the famed golfer the “greatest athlete of the 20th century.”

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