Sunday, May 06, 2012


World golf's "Big Three" of yesteryear, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, won the Houston Greats of Golf Challenge by two shots at The Woodlands Country Club, Texas.
Lee Trevino, Dave Stockton, Gene Littler, Miller Barber, David Graham and Don January joined Nicklaus, Palmer and Player in three threesomes in an 18-hole format on a hot and humid day in Houston.
The unique occasion drew an attendance of 40,000 and was such a success, that it may be repeated at least once a year.
"I'm open to the idea," said Nicklaus.
With only Player and Trevino admitting to playing very much these days, these legendary names nonetheless proved that each player still has the game, even if it has been helped tremendously by technology.
“I hit it farther in the air than I did when I was 30,” said former Open champion Trevino, as he was urging players to hit his new driver with the 55-gram shaft.
“The shaft is the engine. You've got to get the right shaft.”
Trevino still has a distinctive swing, setting up open and usually cutting the ball. But as the round progressed, the Merry Mex would start make comments about his swing, how he was going to draw it instead or try to cut it off a mound or bunker to a particular place on the green.
It was classic Trevino and showed why he might have been the Bubba Watson of his era, sans the length.
Palmer had his typical swashbuckling move on display, going after the ball like it was his last swing ever.
Player showed that at 76, he still has tremendous game, driving the ball long and on a string, yet never riding in a cart, instead walking all 18 holes.
Nicklaus, who had played only nine holes in preparation for the challenge, liked what he saw on the driving range and brought it to the course with his patented head cock and classic follow through.
The Golden Bear brought something new to the challenge: an unyielding sense of humour. The entire day, Nicklaus ribbed Palmer and Player about their games.
“Not a bad chip. Once you learn how to hit it straight, you’ll be OK,” Nicklaus said to Player early in the round.
One time, as Palmer was ready to tap in a 1-footer, Nicklaus reminded him that he had to wait until the others putted, but then threw a little jab, asking The King if he was sure that he could make it.
Palmer would get the last laugh when he drained a 20-footer to birdie the difficult 18th and take home the crystal.
“We didn’t want to go home finishing second,” Palmer said.

+Picture of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player by courtesy of Associated Press.



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