We had nearly 90 minutes with the two legends following their honorary starter duties, and I wrapped up some of the more profound and entertaining remarks by Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
This exchange was somewhat indicative of the banter at times. The topic is, of course, distance.
GARY PLAYER: They are going to hit a wedge in time to come. The whole TOUR will hit a wedge to the second hole here, the par 5. They will hit a wedge to No. 13 and they will hit a wedge to No. 15.
JACK NICKLAUS: You've never done that?
GARY PLAYER: For my third. (Laughter).
JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, okay.
GARY PLAYER: I played with Trevor Immelman on Sunday, not anywhere near Dustin Johnson or Bubba Watson, and he hits a 7‑iron to No. 15. He hits a 7‑iron to No. 13 and he hits a 7‑iron to No. 2.
So if we don't stop ‑‑
JACK NICKLAUS: Trevor?
GARY PLAYER: Yes. He can play. He can play. He doesn't putt very well, but he can really play (laughter).
JACK NICKLAUS: He putted well once.
GARY PLAYER: We're working on his putting. But the thing is, if we don't do something ‑‑ we've never had a big man play golf here except George Bayer. These guys in college are weight training and lifting weights and coming out and being very strong, and they are all going to be hitting the ball at least 400 yards. You'll find guys that will almost drive the first green here at Augusta in 30 years' time.
When I said this on British television 20 years ago, this particular guy, I said, "They will be hitting many drives at 400." He scoffed at me. Dustin Johnson hit a drive 489 yards ten days ago.
JACK NICKLAUS: He what?
GARY PLAYER: 489 yards.
JACK NICKLAUS: Where?
GARY PLAYER: Austin.
JACK NICKLAUS: Did he really?
GARY PLAYER: We're seeing guys hitting 400 yards a lot.
JACK NICKLAUS: Must have been downwind.
GARY PLAYER: With professional golf, we're going to have to, have to, cut the ball back 50 yards, at least.