The Big Three kicked off the 2016 Masters in emotional fashion on Thursday morning at Augusta National Golf Club.
Club chairman Billy Payne welcomed the crowds to the Masters, and then cleared the way for two-thirds of the game's great triumvirate to start the event with ceremonial tee shots from the first tee.
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 7, 2016
However, before balls went in the air, Payne introduced 85-year-old four-time Masters winner Arnold Palmer, who was unable to hit a tee shot after being a part of the kick-off since 2007. Palmer got a rousing ovation before Payne introduced three-time winner, the 80-year-old South African Gary Player, to hit the first tee shot, which he striped down the middle. Both Palmer and Nicklaus ribbed Player for using a fluorescent yellow ball.
Then came the six-time winner Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus was a little stiff after the early morning warm-up on the range wore off. However, as he was about to hit his shot, he stopped to wipe a tear or two from his eye, perhaps aware that this may be one of the final times the Big Three gets together on the first tee of a Masters. Then Nicklaus hit his drive high and a little off to the left side.
As the trio walked off the tee, with Nicklaus helping Palmer by holding his right arm, the combatants who have become good friends each were said to be crying.
JOIN GNN PLUS AS AN ANNUAL MEMBER & YOU'LL GET:
- A FREE USGA handicap ($30 value, annual members only)
- Entry into member-only giveaways
- Special discounts and member benefits
- An ad-free experience
- Equipment testing data
- Exclusive fantasy golf and betting research