Tom Watson turned back the clock late Wednesday afternoon out there at Augusta National, back behind the Eisenhower Cabin.
So did Jack Nicklaus although a next generation Nicklaus stole part of the show at the traditional Masters Par Three tournament.
First, Watson became the oldest player ever to win the event. At age 68, he shot six-under par for the nine holes — a 21 on the card.
“I won many years ago and of course I didn’t win the tournament,” Watson pointed out, referring to the long-standing “Par Three” jinx. No player has won the par three contest and went on to win the regular tournament.
“I wasn’t playing in the tournament, so I figured ‘let’s go for it,” Watson said after finishing an incredible afternoon with Nicklaus and Gary Player at his side.
Nicklaus wasn’t bad either. He shot four-under but got what he called his No. 1 Masters moment on the ninth hole. It was there that he asked grandson G.T., son of Gary, to give it a whirl. G.T. obliged, his a solid shot, landed it in a perfect spot then watched the ball begin to roll toward the hole. With thousands of eyes on it, the ball made it’s way to the bottom of the cup.
“I told him ‘you’re gonna make a hole-in-one,'” Jack said after the contest. “It was his first hole in one and to do it on this stage — Wow, what a day!”
Nicklaus also called it his greatest thrill ever at The Masters. “It doesn’t matter to me what I did here,” he said. “To see G.T. make that hole-in-one, that’s No. 1!”
Prior to Watson’s victory in the Masters eve event, Sam Snead was the oldest player to win the contest. He won it at age 61 back in 1974.
On a side note, Tony Finau nearly took himself out of the big tournament. Finau aced the sixth hole then dashed up toward the hole, he spun around in the middle of the fairway and turned his left ankle badly. He was limping afterward but apparently shook it off and finished the contest with his wife and kids in tow.