Ben Crenshaw, 63, will replace 85-year-old Arnold Palmer in a group with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player at the Par-3 Contest at Augusta National Wednesday. The nine-hole event that comes a day before the opening round of the Masters is one of the rare times the legends play in public.
“I was just informed of it,” Crenshaw said Monday, “but any time you can get close enough to visit with Gary and Jack it is a privilege.”
Palmer, a four-time Masters winner, will sit out the Par-3 Contest as he’s still recovering from a dislocated shoulder last winter. He still plans on joining Player, 79, and Nicklaus, 75, as honorary starters Thursday for the ceremonial first tee shot.
Crenshaw, the 1984 and ’95 Masters champion who is playing his final Masters this week, said “Nobody can replace Arnold Palmer. I hope they don’t throw me out.”
“We felt (it) was a fitting way to acknowledge the end of Ben’s illustrious 44 years of competition at the Masters,” Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said.