Breakfast of champions at the Masters

April 06, 2010

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- What do two of the best players in golf history talk about over breakfast? Turns out, they're a lot like many of us, talking about the game and debating who might be the best ever.

That was the conversation Ray Floyd and Gary Player, two former Masters champions, had over breakfast Tuesday morning at Augusta National GC before Floyd's 9 a.m. press conference to announce that he would not be playing in this year's Masters, making the '09 edition his 44th and final appearance. Floyd shot a pair of 79s and missed the cut to end his career and "leave on good terms," he said.

Floyd, known for introducing the 5-wood to men's golf, which he used to shoot 271 and win by eight strokes in his wire-to-wire 1971 victory, said he and Player talked about who the best players they ever saw and Player inquired about Ben Hogan. Floyd was friendly with Hogan (he played Hogan clubs early in his career), but he couldn't say that he was the best he ever saw.

"I said I never got to play much with Ben. I played two practice rounds and one tournament round with him," Floyd, 67, said. "But I told Gary that I can tell you there were only two players that I ever watched practice, where I went and sat down and watched them hit balls. One was Hogan, and the other was Tommy Bolt. Watching Ben hit practice balls, even to this day, I can remember was just a sight to behold. Every ball was precision with the same trajectory, the same flight. I sat there and said to myself, 'I've got to do something about my game.'

"Bolt, he had the greatest, most beautiful swing and the most beautiful rhythm. Plus, unlike Ben, who didn't say a word, Tommy held court, too, so that was a lot of fun."

--Dave Shedloski