The 'Big Three' will be back together on the first tee at Augusta National next April.
Gary Player has accepted an invitation to join Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as an honorary starter for the Masters tournament beginning in 2012.
“For decades, Gary Player has been the international ambassador for the game of golf,” club chairman Billy Payne in a statement. “His significant accomplishments at the Masters, spread over an astounding 52 appearances, have helped form many lasting memories for fans of golf around the world. As an Honorary Starter, his legacy will be rightfully celebrated alongside two of the Tournament’s other all-time greats, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.”
Player's inclusion into the select group comes as no surprise. He played in 52 Masters -- the most ever -- and his relationship with Nicklaus and Palmer made the pairing a natural. Player won three Masters and had 12 additional top 10 finishes.
“I am thrilled to join my friends Jack and Arnold as an Honorary Starter,” Player said. “Augusta National is a special place that holds many memories for me. When I won my first Green Jacket in 1961, Arnold put it on my back. In 1962, Arnold beat me in an 18-hole playoff to win his second in three years. The year after my second win in 1974, Jack became the second man at the time to ever win four Masters. I was there to put the Green Jacket on both of them. Moments like those are so special and to be able to experience those memories with friends and competitors is something I will never forget.”
In one stretch -- from 1960 through 1966 -- Palmer, Nicklaus and Player won all seven Masters.