Nick Price says caddie was joking about being drunk during his record-setting round at the 1986 Masters
Longtime caddie Dave McNeilly told a wild tale over the weekend about him being drunk while on the bag of Nick Price for his record-setting 63 at the 1986 Masters. The story was self-deprecating, jaw-dropping, and hilarious. Turns out, it also wasn't true.
On Wednesday, Price set the record straight about one of the best rounds of his life, which McNeilly dubbed the "worst day of my life" in a video that went viral. McNeilly may have told the story on May 2, but it should have been treated more like something you hear on April 1.
"That whole thing was done very tongue in cheek," Price said when reached by phone. "It just shows the power of social media. I’ve had probably a couple hundred messages from people saying, 'Oh, Nick, I can’t believe this is true.' And I say, 'Exactly, and the Russians landed on Mars yesterday.'”
"He is one of the funniest, greatest storytellers and embellishers of any person I’ve ever met," the three-time major champ added. "Any person who knows him, knows how funny that story is because of who he is. The problem is a lot of people don’t know him, and they think it’s true."
Price wasn't upset about his former caddie's yarn capturing the interest of a golf world yearning for good stories more than ever during an ongoing pandemic. If anything, he felt bad for McNeilly after the tall tale took off. After receiving all those messages, though, the Hall-of-Famer felt it was only right to dispel McNeilly's myth.
"He texted, 'Sorry Nick, your reputation is in tatters.' I said, 'Not mine, David, yours!'"
McNeilly had said in a video he "overdid it" celebrating Price making the cut on Friday night and that he was "way too drunk" when he showed up for Saturday's third round. McNeilly claimed he gave Price a bad yardage for his approach shot on No. 1, which led to him winding up in a bush over the green and his lone bogey of the day. He also claimed another bad yardage caused Price to reach the green in two on the par-5 15th when he had intended to lay up (that should have been the giveaway that he was joking). In a shot-by-shot chart of the round that Price shared, both those statements were disproven.
Before his story about Price, McNeilly was most recently in the news for a different kind of viral video. He was berated by Matt Wallace during the final round of the 2019 BMW International. The two parted ways shortly after.
Price's 63 during the third round of the 1986 Masters was the first in tournament history. It has only been matched once since, by Greg Norman in 1996.
"He was 100 percent normal," Price said of McNeilly's state that day. "If he’d been that drunk, he’d have been looking for another job. The only thing that’s true about that whole 8-minute speech was the fact that I shot 63 that day. The rest of that is absolute rubbish. It’s David McNeilly to a T."
"I told him, 'You should have written a book, David,'" Price said with a laugh. "'You would have been right up there with J.K. Rowling.'"