One for the Ages
I've written here often about how the Par-Three Tournament the day before the Masters starts is one of my favorite sporting events of the year. It's so low-key and genial -- some players competing to win the nine-hole event, but many just having their children along as a caddies, all dressed in white jumpsuits, including kids as young as six or seven, prancing down the fairways, holding holds, rolling down hills, often getting to putt out a hole instead of their famous dads.
The event always begins with a legendary threesome hitting first. For the past number of years, it's been golf royalty with Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. After Palmer passed away, though, this year Tom Watson joined in -- the kid of the group at age 68. Nicklaus is 78 and Player is 82.
The coverage yesterday wasn't a fun as in the past, focusing more on the competition than the kids running around with their dads, but they had a good amount of that. But --
Oh, that "but."
But -- boy, was this year special nonetheless. I hope you got a chance to watch. Most people didn't. Everyone who didn't missed A LOT.
For starters, Tom Watson actually won the event, becoming the oldest player to ever do so. At age 68. And Nicklaus -- at 78 -- only finished two strokes back. And...Gary Player even finished in the top 10, I believe ending up ninth. Whenever they showed the Leaders Board, the announcers kept saying, "No, you're not looking at the Seniors Tour. That's today's score." And they added that they hadn't intended to follow the trio the whole time -- but that's only because they didn't expect them all to be in contention.
But here's the thing. That's not what made the broadcast so special.
That's because on the last hole, the ninth, Jack Nicklaus let his 15-year-old grandson G.T. hit a tee shot. It landed nicely on the green -- and then rolled and rolled all the way INTO THE HOLE, for a hole in one! The place went absolutely wild. And no one more than Jack Nicklaus, who not only was overjoyed, but literally in tears whenever a reporter asked him about it. In fact, when they asked him where this ranked in his legendary career -- a career that has the most wins in Major Tournaments by any player in history -- he said it was "Number 1." And would explain why, through his choked up voice.
Here's the video of it. Proud grandfather Jack Nicklaus is in the yellow sweater. Though that will eventually be clear. (At the two-minute mark, that's Gary Player's grandson getting his chance to his next.)
And this is one of the short interviews with Jack Nicklaus talking about it, or trying to, as he has to catch himself. Just note that you should turn your volume up all the way, because the sound is recorded extremely low and you likely won't be able to make it out otherwise.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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