'Big Three' get Masters underway

Gary Player was able to claim bragging rights after joining Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer in getting the 79th Masters under way on Thursday.

'Big Three' get Masters underway

Gary Player hits on the first tee for the honorary tee shot before the first round of the Masters golf tournament on Thursday April 9 in Augusta.

Gary Player was able to claim bragging rights after joining Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer in getting the 79th Masters under way on Thursday.

The trio formerly known as golf’s ’Big Three’ – they have 13 Masters titles between them – continued their role as honorary starters by each hitting a tee shot on the par-four first hole.

And it was 79-year-old fitness fanatic Player who produced the longest drive by around 10 yards from 75-year-old Nicklaus, who recorded his first ever hole-in-one at Augusta National during Wednesday’s par-three contest.

Both men split the fairway on a hole ranked the third hardest on the course last year, but 85-year-old Palmer – who has been struggling with a shoulder injury which kept him out of the par-three contest – hooked his shot a short distance towards the ninth fairway.

With that the trio retired to the clubhouse and allowed the tournament proper to begin, with conditions perfect for the early starters.

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