Hope College’s Josh Gibson has been named the NCAA Division III recipient of the 2018 Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award.
The junior from Grandville, Michigan (Grandville HS) will be honored by award namesake Jack Nicklaus on Sunday, June 3 during the final round of the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
Gibson is the first Hope College golfer to be named Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year.
“It’s a great honor,” Gibson said. “Mr. Nicklaus is arguably the greatest golfer to ever play. He’s a living legend. I’m really excited for the opportunity to meet him and talk to him a little bit.”
Nicklaus, a Big Ten and NCAA Champion at The Ohio State University, helped inspire and create the Jack Nicklaus Award in 1988. It is now presented to the National Player of the Year in NCAA Divisions I, II and III, as well as NAIA and National Junior College Athletic Association.
In addition to receiving his Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award, Gibson will compete in the Barbasol Shootout on Saturday, June 2 for an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s Barbasol Championship, held July 16-22, at the Champions at Keene Trace in Lexington, Ky.
Gibson will join fellow Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year honorees — Norman Xiong of
Oregon, Florida Southern’s John VanDerLaan, Dalton State’s SM Lee, and Midland College’s
Callum Bruce — in the 18-hole shootout. The event will be held at storied Scioto Country
Club in Columbus, Ohio — the same club where Jack Nicklaus first learned the game
of golf as a young boy.
“That’s a really great opportunity,” Gibson said. “I just want to go and have some fun, meet a few really good golfers and just enjoy the moment.”
Gibson averaged 70.5 strokes per round during the 2017-18 season while leading the Flying Dutchmen to a program-best, sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive season. He finished 10th individually at nationals one year after earning an NCAA title as a sophomore.
Last fall, Gibson shot the two lowest rounds in Hope College history: 61 at the Adrian College Irish Hills Invitational at Grande Golf Club in Jackson and 64 at the Hopkins Collegiate Invitational at Red Tail Golf Club in Decatur, Illinois. Seven of his 21 rounds for the entire season were in the 60s. He repeated as the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s Most Valuable Golfer.
Head coach Scott Lokers is thrilled Gibson has been chosen as this year’s Jack Nicklaus
Player of the Year for Division III.
“Josh is a fine young man and truly an amazing player. He truly embodies Nicklaus Player of the Year Award qualities,” Lokers said. “Josh exhibits the wonderful combination of God-given talent and incredible hard work. He practices more than anyone I know, but not, primarily, because he is driven. Rather, it is because he simply loves to practice and play golf.
“Josh is also a great teammate and leader. He goes out of his way to make sure our team and each player has the best experience possible. As a person, there is certainly more to Josh than just golf. Josh is a person of faith, and his family and friends really matter to him.”