Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Pro Sports

April 11, 2013

Woods favored, but challengers aplenty at Augusta

(Continued)

This picturesque spot — nine exquisite little holes tucked into the northeast edge of Augusta National — provides another of those quirky trademarks that sets the first major apart from the next three.

Where else can you see a threesome that includes Nicklaus, Palmer and Player? Where else can you see former top-ranked tennis player Caroline Wozniacki on the bag for her boyfriend, McIlroy? Where else can you find 91-year-old Jack Fleck, who won the 1955 U.S. Open in one of golf's greatest upsets, taking a few whacks?

"It's fun down here," Fred Couples said. "It's a good little spot."

Especially when Nicklaus, Palmer and Player — with 13 green jackets and 34 major championships among them — stroll around the "little course" for an hour or so, providing a running commentary on the deteriorating state of their once-mighty games.

After Palmer sliced one into the water, he joked, "That was my last ball."

"I can loan you one," Nicklaus quipped, as he hunched over to tee up his ball.

"Is my credit good?" Palmer asked.

"Good with me," Nicklaus said.

No one has ever won the Par 3 Contest and gone on to win the Masters, which doesn't bode well for Ted Potter Jr. He beat Mickelson and Matt Kuchar in a three-way, two-hole playoff after they tied at 4-under 23. Ernie Els and Nick Watney also shot 23, but they had already left the club and didn't take part in the playoff.

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