AUGUSTA, Ga. – Fifty years ago this week it was the perfect storm at Augusta National.
Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player began Saturday’s third round in 1965 tied at 6 under par – the Big Three on the biggest stage.
“I remember what happened on Saturday,” smiled Nicklaus, who scorched Augusta National in Round 3 with a 64 on his way to his second Masters victory.
“The wrong guy won,” added Player, who finished tied for second with Palmer a half century ago.
On Thursday, the trio kicked off Masters week for the fourth consecutive year as honorary starters with the same competitive spirit that has dulled little over the decades.
Palmer, who has been slowed by recent shoulder surgery, went first, hitting his shot low and left of the fairway; while Player split the middle of the fairway, about 10 yards past Nicklaus.
Asked what he was thinking before the ceremonial tee shot Palmer deadpanned, “Don’t fan it.”
“I don’t think he’s kidding, he said the same thing to me,” Nicklaus smiled.
Rickie Fowler, who is in the day’s final group that tees off at 1:59 p.m. ET, ventured out to the first tee to watch the Big Three, as did defending champion Bubba Watson and Keegan Bradley.
“It shows that they have respect for the game,” Player said.
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