Nicklaus, Watson Turn Back The Clock At Augusta

You were not in a time warp on Wednesday when looking at the Masters Par-3 Contest leaderboard. 

The Par-3 contest at the Masters featured a retro leaderboard with legendary names in Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus at the top.   

Ultimately, the 68-year old Tom Watson won the Par-3 trophy playing the 9-hole event in 6-under par. Nicklaus was right there too, finishing at 4-under par as the crowd at Augusta National got a taste of one of the great rivalries in golf history. Nicklaus, 78, finished tied for fourth. Watson became the oldest player to win the Par-3 Contest, overtaking Sam Snead. 

 

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It was a magical day at Augusta with Watson, Nicklaus and Gary Player walking around Augusta like it was the 1970s. Player, 82, finished the tournament at 2-under par. 

Watson, an eight-time major champion, won the Masters in 1977 and 1982 and Nicklaus was runner-up both times. The duo was also the principal players in one of the most famous major championships in golf history – The Duel in the Sun – at Turnberry in 1977, where Watson held off Nicklaus to win the British Open. The stakes weren’t the same, but the leaderboard did have a nostalgic field with familiar names at the top. 

“It’s the magic of the putter – everything has gone in,” Watson said. 

Perhaps the best moment of the day? G.T. Nicklaus, Jack’s grandson and caddie, recording the first ace of his career on the 9th hole.

 

 

Nicklaus teared up watching his grandson make the shot. The best part was Gary Player was on color commentary for the shot.

“Watching your grandson do something, it’s really special,” Nicklaus said, according to Masters.com. “I got a few tears.

“We talked about three days ago, and I said, ‘Do you want to hit the ball on 9?’ And he said, ‘Sure.’ I said, ‘Well I think you’re going to make a hole‑in‑one.’ That’s what I told him three days ago. It’s his first hole-in-one, and it’s pretty special.”

Watson said that maybe the old guys will continue to win this week. 

“Watch out for the old guys,”  Watson said, per Reuters.  “You’ve got Mickelson (47) and you’ve got Tiger (42). Watch out. They could make some noise.”

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There were plenty of other great shots and great moments, though Tony Finau had the most bizarre moment of the day dislocating his ankle after a hole-in-one

Here’s the best of the rest from the final day before the tournament tees off Thursday morning.    

 

 

One thing we are assured of this week is the Par-3 Curse will remain in tact for at least one more year. No winner of the Par-3 Contest has gone on to win the Masters in the same year. Watson isn’t in the field this year and retired from competitive golf several years ago.  

 
 

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