Golf

Power of Three: How Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus Revolutionized Golf


Combining Arnold Palmer’s “swashbacking” style play, Gary Player’s pure willpower, and Jack Nicklaus’ full brilliance, this triumvirate golf tycoon has pushed the game to the present day.

Unusual as a sports rival in the late 1950s and early 1980s, when the trio began to redefine how to play golf, they built a lasting relationship along the way. Therefore, Nicklaus and Palmer’s wife were also close friends.

“We went together all over the world, Australia, everywhere, and we basically lived together and played lots of TV games and exhibitions together.”

Players remember having a conflict with Palmer on one of their courses, but having “love” with each other made reconciliation easier.

“I vividly remember going in and having lunch together. I was crying because I loved each other and didn’t want to affect my friendship, so I laughed together. Like crying together. To. “

“That man will be the champion”

Palmer was the first trio to win the status of golf superstar. Even the great Nicklaus, who won the most major in his professional golf career, admitted that he was part of “Arnie’s Army” in his early days.

Nicklaus remembers opening a driving clinic with Palmer at the age of 18 in Athens, Ohio, overtaking his rivals by 40 yards.

Nicklaus remembers telling Palmer: “I just knocked it 40 yards by you.” Palmer replied: “Yes, but I shot 63, and you shot 67. I did. “

A South African player recalls seeing Palmer hit the ball with a practice tee in 1957 and thinking, “Well, that guy will be the champion.”

The player’s prediction was foresighted. A year later, Palmer won his first major title and claimed the famous green jacket to be 28 years old. He wore the Masters Green Jacket three more times and won the US Open and the British Open twice in the 1960s.

According to South African golf legends, with the help of his agent Mark McCormack (eventually representing both Nicklaus and the player), Palmer became a global superstar and his skills at the club. Traveled around the world to show off, and he was helped by his “exuded” charisma.

According to the player, his passion for games was astounding.

“I couldn’t break the 90 as I got older, but I still wanted to go out and play with the members and people,” the player said.

Palmer became more prominent because of the spread of television throughout the United States, where people across the country could see Palmer win the virgin major.

“They were at the top and loved the common people who killed all the dragons,” Niklaus explained.

But it was Palmer’s playing style on the course that made him a really good player for the audience. The 18th big winner, Nicklaus, calls him a kind of “Robin Hood”.

“He wanted to drive it into the woods, so he was able to hit spectacular shots and excite everyone,” he said. “And he did it. He hit it a lot in the woods, and he had these spectacular shots that everyone was involved with.

“And he excited everyone. He lifted his pants and hung a cigarette from his mouth.”

Palmer plays a shot from the bunker on the 7th hole of the Desert in Country Club.

Competitiveness

The competitiveness of golf’s self-proclaimed “Big Three” has driven them to be bigger and better.

According to the 18-time big winner, Nicklaus and Palmer often played themselves out of the tournament battle.

Nicklaus especially remembers the 1975 Masters. Both Masters were near the top of the leaderboard after two rounds.

“We were playing the third round, shooting 73, Arnold shooting 75, and shaking hands in the last hole, he said.

“I came back and shot a good final round and won the tournament, but Arnold effectively shot himself out of the tournament, and that’s not the way to play golf.

“You control yourself and play golf. And you are not the field, you are the only person you can control. So you have to take that into account, but we don’t. We were too stubborn. We were too competitive. “

Nicklaus won the 73 PGA Tour, including 18 majors. This is his third victory in history. Palmer has won the fifth-highest 62 PGA Tour wins to date. Players have won 24 PGA Tour and 116 international victories at the same time.

Players draw similarities between the passion and motivation of the trio and the competitiveness that Tiger Woods (15 major winners and the most PGA Tour wins to date) brings to the game.

“We were the most fierce competitors the world has ever seen,” says the player.

“But we had a great deal of love for each other. When we were on the golf course and made it very clear:’I want to beat you. And if you beat me , I look in your eyes and say wonderful.'”

Palmer and Player Follow Nicklaus' Flight & # 39; A tee shot at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio in 1965.

Change of opinion

The British Open is one of the most popular praises for golf in the world, but it hasn’t always been the case.

Players won the majors in 1959, but before Palmer first appeared a year later, few American golfers traveled to England to take part in tournaments.

Arriving as the Masters and US Open champion, according to Nicklaus, Palmer brought a certain level of cashier to his compatriots who were watching him return home on his way to the second-place finish.

“The Scottish loved him, and playing for St Andrews and Kernagle beat him with a single blow, and suddenly all American players wanted to go to the British Open,” Nicklaus said. ..

Nicklaus, Palmer and Player were filmed at the 1970 British Open in St. Andrew & # 39; s.

Fast forward to 149th Open at Royal St. George includes 51 US golfers in 156 Strongfields in July, including the final winner Collin Morikawa.

Players say the Open would “be like today” without Palmer’s influence, but believes that the arrival of the Americans has brought an extra eyeball back to America.

“The British Open with Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen, Peter Thomson and Roberto De Vicenzo. You can see a list of the hundreds of men who helped host this wonderful British Open. increase.

“Did Arnold Palmer enhance it when he met? Yes. This was this charismatic guy playing very well in America. Indeed, it brings huge amounts of profit to the open. But we can’t give credit to one man, the biggest championship in the world. “

Palmer, player and Nicklaus pose at a golf club before a practice round at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.

Since his death in 2016, Palmer has been honored during golf games and even by the United States Postal Service. They issued a commemorative stamp celebrating the greatness of golf in 2020.

“I think most people have noticed that Arnold has done more for the game than anyone else,” Nicklaus said in honor of his “hero.”

“His influence, attitude, how he treats himself in the game, he is proud when he needs to be proud, president when he needs to be president, and humble when he needs to be humble. Arnold did a great job and I think we all benefit him a lot, “adds Nicklaus.

“Professionals are not only giving him a lot of benefits, but golf games are also giving him a lot of benefits. Five years have passed and I miss my buddy.

Nicklaus looked up at the sky to honor Palmer and then hit the first tee shot of honor for the start of the first round of the Masters ritual in 2017.

“I talked to him about two weeks before he died, and he was his typical self. I said,” How are you doing, AP? ” He said: “I think I’m ready to go out and hit some balls. I feel really good. I’m there as much as I’ve been feeling for a long time. I’m looking forward to coming out. ”

“He was no longer ready to hit a golf ball more than a man on the moon, but he didn’t want me to know anything different, so I acknowledged him for that achievement. I will miss him forever. “



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