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Golf legend Jack Nicklaus says he voted for Trump; ex-Celtic Jason Collins takes exception

Jack NicklausTom Pennington/Getty Images for Payne’s Valley Cup

Like many White House occupants before him, President Trump has been a frequent presence on the golf course during his time in office, and on Wednesday he got a lift from links legend Jack Nicklaus, the man known as the Golden Bear who won 18 major championships.

Nicklaus, 80, tweeted Wednesday that he’s personally known several presidents from both parties, all of whom were “good people” who “believed in the American Dream.”

But this year, Nicklaus said, he voted early for Trump, calling him a president whose “policies will bring the American Dream to many families across the nation who are still trying to achieve it.”


The Golden Bear conceded the boorish nature of some of Trump’s public comments.

“You might not like the way our president says or tweets some things - and trust me, I have told him that!” Nicklaus wrote. “But I have learned to look past that and focus on what he’s tried to accomplish. ... [I]f we want to continue to have the opportunity to pursue the American Dream, and not evolve into a socialist America and have the government run your life, then I strongly suggest you consider Donald J. Trump for another [four] years."

Former Boston Celtics player Jason Collins - a supporter of Trump’s opponent, Democrat Joe Biden, and the first openly gay player to take the court in an NBA game - hit back via Twitter.

“So you’re cool with a racist leading our country,” Collins tweeted in response to Nicklaus. “The same guy who couldn’t denounce white supremacy. The same guy who bragged about grabbing women by the ‘you know what.’ The same guy who... nevermind. You are who you are. Got it. Your privilege must be nice.”

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.