AUGUSTA, Ga. — It can be hard to keep track of the Masters accolades accrued by Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. The two have a combined nine green jackets (though new Masters chairman Fred Ridley mistakenly said 10 on Thursday morning) and nearly 100 appearances at Augusta National.
After the pair hit their opening tee shots Thursday morning, they stepped into the media center's interview room, where the moderator mentioned that Player had played 164 total rounds at the Masters.
"How many did I play?" Nicklaus asked.
"163," the moderator said.
"You've got to be kidding me," Nicklaus said.
The smack-talk was on between the 78-year-old Nicklaus and 82-year-old Player as the sun began to warm the grounds on a crisp morning with temperatures in the low 40s. Crowds lined up from the tee all the way to the clubhouse, dozens deep, hardly able to hear or see the good-natured long drive competition going on between the legends of the sport.
Player teed off No. 1 first, hitting a tight draw down the left side of the fairway that ran some two-thirds of the way up the hill. Nicklaus hit the fairway, too, but couldn't quite catch up with Player's shot. He grimaced as he saw his effort come up just short and then begrudgingly turned to congratulate his competitor before breaking into a laugh.
As Nicklaus and Player walked off the tee, two spotters darted out to grab their tee shots from the fairway; Austin Cook, Ted Potter, Jr. and Wesley Bryan had the 8:30 tee time.
You can watch the opening ceremony below.
Always a special moment.pic.twitter.com/AEusLBPRLU— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 5, 2018