Aug. 5, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – John Cook and Don Nist were inducted into the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame this week. The former Buckeye student-athletes were a part of the four-member 2014 induction class. Cook lettered at Ohio State from 1977-79 while Nist did so in 1955 and 1956.
The Ohio Golf Hall of Fame was created to honor people who have helped make Ohio a leader in the sport. In its existence, the Hall of Fame has inducted many golfers excelling in state competition and achieved national and worldwide acclaim. These inductees have all made a substantial impact on the game, not only as players, but also as architects, tournament directors, administrators and club professionals.
Ohio State University has a long history of Ohio Golf Hall of Famers, dating back to the inaugural induction class in 1992 that included Buckeyes, Jack Nicklaus and Rick Jones. A total of 19 individuals associated with Ohio State Golf have received Ohio Golf Hall of Fame status.
BUCKEYES IN THE OHIO GOLF HALL OF FAME
Jack Nicklaus – 1992
Rick Jones – 1992
Tom Nieporte – 1996
Robert Kepler – 1998
Pandel Savic – 1998
Tom Weiskopf – 2004
George Bellino – 2005
Jim Brown – 2006
Rod Myers – 2007
Renee Powell – 2007
Denny Gallagher – 2009
Ed Sneed – 2009
Dr. Howard Po Peterson – 2011
George Sargent – 2011
Raymond Sovik – 2011
Tom Elfers – 2012
Jerry McGee 2013
John Cook – 2014
Don Nist – 2014
INDUCTEE BIOS – courtesy of the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame
John Neuman Cook was born October 2, 1957, in Toledo, Ohio, but grew up in Southern California. He attended Miraleste High School in Rancho Palos Verdes, graduating in 1976. While in California, John was mentored by 1964 U.S. Open champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member Ken Venturi. He was offered a golf scholarship to The Ohio State University, and was personally advised to accept by OSU alums and golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf. John was a member of the Buckeyes’ 1979 NCAA Championship team, which also included future PGA Tour star Joey Sindelar.
The team national championship at Ohio State was just one of many impressive titles claimed by John during his stellar amateur career. He won the California State Amateur in 1975, and added two Ohio Amateur victories in 1978 and 1979. Also among his many prestigious amateur victories were the 1977 and 1979 Sunnehanna Amateurs and the Northeast Amateur in 1978 and 1979, John’s crowning achievement as an amateur came in 1978, when he won the U.S. Amateur Championship at age 20. He nearly won it all again in 1979, reaching the final match before falling just short to Mark O’Meara.
It didn’t take long for John to continue his winning ways at the professional level. His first PGA Tour victory came in 1981 at the rain-shortened Bing Crosby National Pro-Am, where he won a five-way sudden-death playoff that included Hale Irwin, Bobby Clampett, Ben Crenshaw and Barney Thompson. He defeated Johnny Miller in a playoff to claim his second Tour victory at the 1983 Canadian Open. John’s most productive PGA Tour season was 1992, when he won three events, finished second in the British Open, moved into the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time, and was named the Tour’s Comeback Player of the Year. His 11th and final PGA Tour victory came in 2001, when he won the Reno-Tahoe Open at the age of 43.
John became eligible to compete on the Champions Tour in October 2007, and he won in just his second start at the AT&T Championship. A year later he successfully defended his title for his second win on the circuit. John still competes regularly on the Champions Tour and has claimed nine victories to date. John also has six international wins to his credit, bringing his worldwide total to 26 professional titles.
In addition to his numerous individual accomplishments, John has also had the honor of representing the United States in team competitions several times throughout his career. He was a member of the victorious U.S. Eisenhower Trophy team in 1978, partnered with Rex Caldwell to win the 1983 World Cup, and was a proud member of Captain Tom Watson’s triumphant Ryder Cup squad at The Belfry in 1993.
John currently resides in Windemere, Fla., with his wife Jan. They have three children. John was previously inducted into the Ohio State University O Hall of Fame in 1986.
Don Nist, of Massillon, Ohio, has been compiling a very impressive amateur golf resume for over six decades. He first made his mark as the 1950 Stark County Junior Champion, and went on to become a two-year letterwinner as a member of The Ohio State University golf team in 1955 and 1956.
Don is a three-time winner of Massillon’s Tigertown Open (1957, 1968, 1973), a six-time Stark County Amateur champion (1956, 1961, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971), and has won the Stark County Open five times (1959, 1962, 1965, 1970, 1978). Don has also won the Ohio Public Links Championship three times (1957, 1965, 1972).
In addition to demonstrating great proficiency on the golf course, Don has also given back to the game he loves by serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Stark County Amateur Golf Association for 40 years. In 2010, he founded the Stark County Amateur Golf Hall of Fame. Don spent 19 years as a panelist for Golf Digest’s ratings of the Top 100 Courses in the United States and the Top 30 Courses in the state. He also once served his state as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives 103rd General Assembly.
Don is a member of both the Ohio Public Links Golfers Association Hall of Fame and the Stark County Amateur Golf Hall of Fame.