Gary Player knows better. He said so.
Now in his 30th season of competition against the Jack Nicklaus, Player gave his old foe a second chance.And he knows full well that is something that just isn't "I made a mistake," Player said after Nicklaus made the most of the gift and went on to score the biggest payday of his career Sunday in the Senior Skins Game.
Player, literally, had Nicklaus on the rocks and a $285,000 payoff in his hands on the second hole of a sudden death playoff.
Pressure was involved, Player admitted; the pressure of the prize money and the pressure of the pride in competing against his old friends and golfing foes, Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Chi Chi Rodriguez.
And therein lay his mistake.
"When he got it into the rocks," Player said, "I thought, `I can win it with a (par) 5,'
It was on the second hole of a sudden death playoff - the par-5 18th on the Francis H. Brown course at the Mauna Lani Resort - after Palmer, Trevino and Rodriguez had been eliminated.
Player played for the conservative par-5, but Nicklaus took a penalty stroke out of the black lava rocks and matched Player's par.
On the next extra hole, Nicklaus hit a 2-iron to the fringe of the green and rolled in a 35-40 foot winning putt for eagle-3 and all the money up for competition Sunday.At Phoenix, Nolan Henke rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday, stemming a back-nine collapse and beating Curtis Strange, Tom Watson and Gil Morgan by one shot in the Phoenix Open.
He finished with an even-par 71 for a 16-under total of 268. It marked Henke's 29th consecutive round of shooting par or under.