Rory McIlroy held his first press conference of the 2017 Masters Tuesday at August National, and he was his usual self, offering up multiple entertaining and insightful thoughts. One of those juicy tidbits involved the greatest Masters champion of all time: Jack Nicklaus.
Nicklaus will join Gary Player for the ceremonial opening tee shot before the first round, as they have done for years alongside the late Arnold Palmer, and Rory claimed that he helped Jack get an extra edge to outdrive Player on Thursday.
“I think I helped him more than he helped me. I adjusted his driver for him because he’s trying to hit it longer than Gary Thursday morning. I told him, if he hits it longer than Gary, I want a mention because I adjusted the weight in his driver. He kept hitting it left,” he said, later adding, “I was practicing at The Bear’s Club and he came and was trying a few drivers. It’s amazing how competitive he still is. It’s unbelievable. So yeah, that was really it. It was more of a passing comment.”
But Nicklaus isn’t the one responsible for adding a competitive twist to the ceremonial tee shot. That blame belongs to the Black Knight. Last week, Player tweeted a little trash talk toward Nicklaus, which may have inspired Rory to help the Golden Bear. Either way, it’s hardly a surprise to see these two getting competitive considering the nine green jackets between them.
— Gary Player (@garyplayer) March 23, 2017