Greats of Golf: How much golf are Jack, Gary and Lee playing? Their answers may surprise you.

Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Lee Trevino reunited for the first time in three years to play in the 3M Greats of Golf, a team-scramble exhibition that highlighted Saturday’s second round of the Insperity Invitational at The Woodlands near Houston.

During a pre-round news conference, they were asked to describe how much golf they are playing these days and the differences in their responses were telling.

Nicklaus, who skipped the Par-3 Contest at the Masters in April but hit one of the three opening tee shots to the tournament on Thursday, said he hasn’t played a round of golf this year.

“I’m pretty pathetic,” said Nicklaus, 82, the winner of a record 18 majors. “I can’t shoot my age. Not even close.”

But Nicklaus was happy to get the invite from the tournament’s executive director, Bryan Naugle.

“I said, ‘You really want me to come back? I’m not playing golf.’ Naugs said, ‘I want you to be here.’ That was a nice compliment to me,” Nicklaus said. “It’s fun to be back with these guys.”

Trevino, 82 and winner of six majors during his Hall of Fame career, hardly allows a day to pass without hitting balls. But he claimed he had only played nine holes this year before playing in a pro-am on Friday.

“I don’t play, I hit balls,” he explained. “This is what I do, honestly, I hit five shots with every club and then I go home.”

Player, 86, who claimed nine majors including the career Grand Slam, said he likes to play every day. Nicklaus noted that in back-to-back rounds Player had shot a remarkable 19 and 20 strokes better than his age recently. That would be rounds of 66 and 67, which is none too shabby, no matter the tees.

“At age 86, he’s playing better than he did at age 66,” Nicklaus boasted. “I don’t know why he’s not out here playing. He’d be dusting this field this week…unless he choked!”

That’s something Nicklaus knows nothing about. He might consider his game to be “pathetic,” but on the 18h green of the nine-hole scramble on Saturday, Nicklaus nailed a birdie putt to clinch victory in the competition for his team consisting of Player, Trevino and Annika Sorenstam. Apparently, they’ve still got it.


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