After hitting their ceremonial opening shot to commence the 2016 Masters, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player appeared in the press room to talk about the day and some of their favorite memories. (The Masters.com video here.)
This was interesting for the elder-statesman-will-say-the-craziest-things files:
Q. Could you tell us what your feelings were about Jack's performance in 1986?
GARY PLAYER: You know, I've got a different philosophy about sports. I listened to the Golf Channel yesterday, and I've never heard such crap in my life (laughter).
I mean, I'm listening to ‑‑
JACK NICKLAUS: What was the question?
GARY PLAYER: What did I feel when you won the Masters at 46 years of age.
JACK NICKLAUS: I'm sorry, okay.
GARY PLAYER: I'm listening to Brandel, and I'm listening to ‑‑ what's his name from New Zealand, Frank Nobilo, talking about all the guys, you've got to win in your early 20s, and as you get into your 30s, you're starting to deteriorate.
Have they no idea what is transpiring with the human being? Have they have no idea what's taking place in the world today? They're so oblivious to what's around them.
So I've always said that a man at 50 would win the Masters and I was ridiculed. Raymond Floyd needed to birdie No. 17 with a 9‑iron, and he would have won the Masters at 49, nearly 50. But be that as it may.
I win the Masters at 42, which I thought was quite impressive. He comes along and wins it at 46. But don't forget, Julius Boros, won the PGA at 48. People forget about these things.
So it was amazing, it was amazing. And you know, we are inundated with listening to commentators, all they talk about is long distance off the tee. Long distance is not what wins golf tournaments. It's from 100 yards in, because 70 percent of golf is played from 100 yards in.
Now Ballesteros at the time, remember we had the screens, Ballesteros hits his drive at 15 and I think he's leading Jack at that stage, whatever the case would be, and Ballesteros hits his drive at least 330 yards because he hits his 5‑iron for his second, put it in the water.
Simultaneously, Jack holes this vital putt at No. 17 which enables him to win, and he wins it at 46. It was incredible. It was a marvelous effort, particularly on a tough golf course like this. But the man was a hell of an athlete, not only at golf but at other sports, as well.
And it was very, very ‑‑ for me, it was encouraging because I've had a different philosophy on the body and fitness and what the human being is capable of doing, as far as longevity is concerned.
So I was not surprised because I know what an athlete he was and what we're going to see in the future, we are in our infancy right now. But what a remarkable effort. The thing is, coming to the conclusion of it, the world's tendency of thinking you are old playing golf at 40, it changed the whole concept, which is fantastic.