April 8, 2009
AUGUSTA---Former Masters champ Gary Player is playing in his 52nd and, sadly for the rest of us, final Masters. That means for the first time in modern history, none of the big three--Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, or Gary Player--will be competing here next year.
"To our age group, they're everything," said a patron named Les, who came to Augusta from Bristol, England. "There are some great young players coming through, but (the big three will) always be the greatest for us."
Chairman Payne remarked today during the traditional Wednesday news conference that he'd like to see Nicklaus, Palmer, and Player all tee off together as honorary starters.
"That would be worth coming from England to see," Les said.
Billy Payne will have his work cut out for him on that one, especially when it comes to Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus has always considered himself a competitive golfer, not a ceremonial one. We'll see.