All Isao Aoki ever wanted to do was to see the world through golf. He accomplished that and a whole lot more. Aoki won 71 times around the world on six different tours and in 2004 became the first Japanese male golfer to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Despite his numerous victories, Aoki is perhaps best known for finishing second at the 1980 U.S. Open at Baltusrol Golf Club. Paired with Jack Nicklaus all four days, Aoki played his best golf against Nicklaus, sharing the lead going into the final round. Aoki waited patiently for his chance at glory.
“I kept telling myself no matter how perfect he is, he will make a mistake in 72 holes in four days,” Aoki said, “But I was wrong. Jack did not make any errors until the end of the tournament.” Nicklaus carded a record-setting score of 272 (8-under-par), winning his fourth U.S. Open title while Aoki’s 274 total became the second lowest 72-hole score in U.S. Open history.