The Masters honorary starters Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player give their thoughts on the modern game


Nicklaus and Player Lay Into The Modern Game

The 2019 Masters honorary starters Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player have again criticised the effect modern technology is having on the game.

Speaking after their opening tee shots, the legendary pair had harsh words for both the length the golf ball flies and the use of green reading books by today’s professionals.

Player has been vocal in the past about the danger to St Andrews if the trend continues, and he believes Augusta is in equal peril.

“There will be a man standing on the first tee one day who drives it on the front edge of the green,” Player said.

Asked if he agreed with Player, Nicklaus was equally forthright.

“The golf ball has got ridiculous,” he said. “The golf ball from 1930 to about 1995 gained about six yards. From 1995 to 2005, about 50 yards, and that’s a big difference. Probably the organisations won’t tell you that, but that’s exactly about what’s happened.”

Player believes the authorities need to act fast and put forward his own solution.

“Our leaders have got to get together now and form a ball for professionals that’s different to the amateurs,” he said.

“Let the amateurs have anything they like. We need them to enjoy it. We need more rounds. But we have got to stop this; otherwise, it’s going to be a joke, in my opinion.”

The South African also had harsh words for the use of green-reading books, which are actually outlawed by Augusta National.

“Bobby Locke was the best putter that ever lived,” he continued. “I never saw him take a book to read the damn green.

“To read the green, you’ve got to look at a book? If you can’t read a green, you should be selling beans! It’s part of the game. Where are we going? Everything is so artificial.”