Thursday, April 7

VIDEO: 2016 Masters Underway, Player Outdrives Nicklaus

HERE WE GO. THE 2016 MASTERS is underway on a breezy Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club. Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player struck the ceremonial opening shots while Arnold Palmer watched from a folding chair.

The Black Knight outdrove the Golden Bear, according to Geoff Shackelford.

If you don't think Player cares, you don't know the hyper-competitive 80-year-old South African. Following is my recap of the ceremonial tee shots at the 2012 Masters.

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The greats are competitive forever, looking for any possible edge, more distance, more anything. Just ask Gary Player.

The Black Knight fiddled with his driver in anticipation of last Thursday’s ceremonial tee shot alongside fellow Masters winners and Hall of Famers Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Gary wanted to put his best hit forward to open the 2012 Masters. Maybe he could rifle his drive on “Tea Olive” past the Golden Bear.

Jack, of course, used a Nicklaus driver. Arnie and Gary wielded Callaway Razr Fit drivers. The South African was looking for more distance, so he worked with the Callaway people early during Masters week to perfect his driver setup. The end result was a setup with more loft to hit the ball higher and also included tweaks to the clubhead that would allow him to turn it over a bit and get some extra roll down the lush 1st fairway.

Apparently, Gary was pleased.

“Player’s caddy came to the truck Wednesday to confirm that the Black Knight was getting longer distance and wanted to get a Razr Fit 3-wood to match the driver,” said a Callaway spokesperson.

On Thursday morning, with Masters Chairman Billy Payne serving as master of ceremonies, Palmer stepped up first and knocked one down the middle. Player was next, and cracked a drive that had a nice little draw. Then Jack belted one that also found the fairway, making it three for three.

The Big 3 had come through once more.

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