Masters Champions Confidential: Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Ray Floyd join our roundtable

Amen Corner
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Amen Corner is the brutal stretch between Augusta National's 11th and 13th holes.

3. What is your favorite Masters tradition?

Johnson: How could you pick just one? Obviously the green jacket is what every golfer dreams of putting on, so that would have to be at the top. The stories that are told during the Champions Dinner are a highlight as well.

Floyd: The Champions Dinner is special because you only have the champions in there. You can tell stories that you know won’t leave the room. In the older days, Sam Snead would always have a few words and tell a raunchy joke. Being there with Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson is something you never forget.

Palmer: Green jacket. It’s a very well-established tradition at Augusta.

Langer: Definitely the Champions Dinner. It’s one of the highlights whenever I go there. It’s only past champions and the chairman, so it’s always great company. Good food, good wine and some jokes. It’s just a great time. It’s exclusive. It’s fun to be a part of it.

Woosnam: It’s a very special evening with all the past champions coming together and reminiscing over a well-chosen menu. It’s a unique event, and I really look forward to it each year.

Player: Each of those traditions are so wonderful. I am not sure I could choose one. The rich history at the Masters is part of what makes this tournament so special. One of my favorite personal traditions is that every year when I arrive for the tournament, I get dropped off at the entrance of Magnolia Lane and take the walk from Washington Road to the clubhouse and the Champion’s locker room. I just take that time to soak in the special atmosphere at Augusta and think back on all the great memories at the tournament. Other than that, I must say that having the green jacket slipped on in the Butler Cabin and then going out to the 18th green to do it again in public is truly one of the greatest pleasures in golf. It is very special to have the jacket put on by the previous year’s champion. It is like a rite of passage, an initiation to the Masters Champions fraternity.

Lyle: All of them and more. Everyday you arrive at Augusta, your hairs are sensing the excitement. Every tradition is special.

Schwartzel: Champions Dinner -- It's just a special night.

Weir: It is very hard to pick just one Masters tradition as they all mean so much to me. I would have to say my memories of the green jacket ceremony in front of the Augusta National Clubhouse and having Tiger do the honours is a memory that will always be special to me.

Zoeller: Those three are the largest of the week. The par-3 tournament is a little feather in the cap. I tell you what makes the Champions Dinner cool is that there are not 150 guys. There are something like 27 of us. It’s a nice club to be in. It’s an honor to go in there. It’s a fun evening. It’s always good to see the older guys and listen to their war stories.

Casper: Turning off Washington Road onto Magnolia Lane. That’s the most exciting experience players can have. It doesn’t change. I’ve been going there since '57, and it does not change. It’s just as exciting today as it was when I first went there. There’s no other golf course you can say that about.

4. Other than your wins, what is your favorite Masters of all-time?

Casper: It’s interesting. In 1969, I went there and shot 66-71-71 for 208 and led by one shot into the final round. I finished one shot behind George Archer. In 1970, I shot 72-68-68 for 208 and had a one-shot lead on Gene Littler. It’s because of what I learned in '69 leading after three rounds what it will take to win on Sunday.

Lyle: Without a doubt 1986 when I witnessed Jack winning his final major at Augusta.

Schwartzel: 1997 -- Just to watch Tiger dominate the way he did.

Player: I would say that first time that I ever competed at Augusta after my father wrote Clifford Roberts, the chairman of Augusta National, saying how much he admired the Masters tournament and told him of my victories in 1956. We received a letter back from Mr. Roberts saying: ‘Pass the hat!’ in response to my father saying that he would take a collection at the local golf club to pay for my trip if I received an invite. With Mr. Roberts’ go-ahead, I was on my way. That first time on the grounds of Augusta National was unforgettable. The first thing I did after walking down Magnolia Lane was go to the practice tee. I did not go there to hit balls, but instead to watch some of the players I most respected and admired like Ben Hogan and Sam Snead practicing. It was an amazing moment.

Woosnam: Jack Nicklaus in 1986. No one gave him any chance that year but to win it again at the age of 46 was a fantastic achievement.

Johnson: Well, I guess if I had to choose just one other than 2007, I'd have to go with Jack winning in 1986. Hard to top that!

Floyd: It’s hard not to take last year’s with Scott and Cabrera. That’s vivid in my memory. I was at Augusta during that final round. If I took a book and had to recall other Masters, I couldn’t find a better one.

Palmer: Other than the years when I won, I guess my favorite -- or certainly the most memorable and emotional one -- was my last one in 2004.

Weir: One of my favorite Masters moments came in 1986 when Jack won with that incredible back nine charge.

Zoeller: As a golfer, you always look down to that special place down in Georgia. It’s a special spot. Everyone of the tournaments I’ve played in here has been special to me.

Langer: For me, it’s Nicklaus winning in 1986 with his son on his bag and me putting the green jacket on him. That is such a cool memory. I don’t remember word for word, but I probably said you’re a great champion and congrats on having your son with you.

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