Nicklaus' Gold Medal vote passes U.S. House

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A referendum to award Jack Nicklaus with the Congressional Gold Medal passed the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday, an honor described as "the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions."

Nicklaus' candidacy will now move to the U.S. Senate, and should it pass he would join Byron Nelson and Arnold Palmer as the only golfers to be awarded the medal. This is the second year in a row that Nicklaus' vote has passed the House, but last year it did not receive a final stamp of approval from the Senate.

The vote for Nicklaus passed in the House by a 371-10 margin, with 50 abstentions. In the description of the bill, it is noted that Nicklaus would receive the medal "in recognition of his service to the Nation in promoting excellence, good sportsmanship, and philanthropy." The 74-year-old won 73 times during his PGA Tour career and captured 18 major titles in addition to a pair of U.S. Amateur championships.

Nelson became the first golfer to receive a Gold Medal in 2006, and he was followed by Palmer in 2012. The list of athletes to receive the honor is a short one, and includes baseball's Roberto Clemente (1973) and Jackie Robinson (2003), boxer Joe Louis (1982) and Olympian Jesse Owens (1988).