Pandel Savic, who went from playing quarterback at Ohio State to running the Memorial Tournament for Jack Nicklaus, died Tuesday in Columbus. He was 92.

Savic arrived in the United States as a 9-year-old immigrant from Macedonia, settling in northern Ohio before coming to Columbus to play football for Buckeyes coach Wes Fesler.

Savic's fourth-quarter touchdown pass against Michigan in 1949 enabled OSU to earn a 7-7 tie and a trip to Pasadena, where the Buckeyes got their first Rose Bowl win, 17-14 over California. He was inducted into the 2009 class of the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame.

Savic said of the team’s trip to Hollywood: “I had my picture taken with Elizabeth Taylor, and she was beautiful. And I sat near Marie Wilson, and she was real good-looking. I got soup all over my necktie from looking over at her all the time.”

Savic enlisted in the Marines in 1943 and served overseas during World War II, seeing action at Peleliu, site of the highest U.S. casualty rate of any battle in the Pacific theater. After the war, he attended Ohio State, then started an industrial-safety business after graduating.

His friendship with Nicklaus grew when Jack and his wife, Barbara, bought a house across the street in Upper Arlington. The idea to bring a PGA Tour event to Columbus surfaced in Savic’s kitchen in 1965.

“Then in 1966, Jack brought up the idea again when we were at Augusta,” said Savic, who accompanied Nicklaus to the Masters for 36 years. “He said, ‘Let’s get serious and get up there and look for land.’ And we did.”

Savic soon became chairman of the Memorial Tournament, which began in 1976.

“Barbara and I, and he and his wife, Janice (who died in 1991), lived across the street from each other when we got married, and all our kids grew up together,” Nicklaus said. “He was a mentor to my kids, as well as to me. They all looked forward to their fireside chats with Pandel, or as they called him, “Big ’Un.” I affectionately called him ‘Mack.’ He’s just one great guy. Our hearts hurt today over the loss of Mack.”

Memorial services are pending.