The Story of the Yellow Shirt
At the time, it was just an unspoken bond between a young boy and his idol. Two golfers, separated in age by almost 20 years but connected by a love for the game and eventually the simple love of a color—yellow...
...Craig Smith was the son of close Nicklaus family friends, Dr. Bill Smith and his wife Mary Lou. Dr. Smith was Barbara Nicklaus’ minister and for 30 years gave the opening prayer at the Memorial Tournament. There was no bigger fan of Jack Nicklaus than Craig. At the age of 11, Craig was stricken with a rare form of bone cancer. His idol would call him to provide him support or to just say hello. One Sunday, following a Golden Bear victory, Jack called Craig, who said, “I knew you were going to win, because I was wearing my lucky yellow shirt.” From that moment on, it was not uncommon to see Jack walk up the 18th fairway on Sunday wearing yellow. It was his message to Craig that he was thinking of him and, more important, that he wasn’t alone in his battle.
In June of 1971, and at the age of 13, Craig passed away. But his memory never left Jack and Barbara Nicklaus. That’s why 15 years later, on the Sunday of the 1986 Masters, Barbara and Jack decided he would wear yellow to honor Craig’s memory. A day that started with a gesture inspired by a loving memory ended with 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus pulling on his sixth green jacket in arguably the most memorable Masters Tournament and major championship of a storied career.
Today, the color yellow still inspires and still honors the memory of one boy and his unwavering spirit.
Through the Yellow Shirt Fund, you can have the ability and vehicle to support pediatric cancer patients nationwide, including those in Central Ohio being treated at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. By making a donation, you will receive a collectible pin that commemorates that remarkable day in 1986. At the same time, you can honor those who inspire us to continue the fight against pediatric cancer.