April 04, 2017

Why Rory McIlroy wants credit if Jack Nicklaus out-drives Gary Player on their Masters ceremonial tee shots

Singles Matches - 2014 Ryder Cup

Singles Matches - 2014 Ryder Cup

AUCHTERARDER, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 28: Rory McIlroy of Europe shakes with Jack Nicklaus of the United States on the 1st tee during the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 28, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Photo by: David Cannon

David Cannon

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Rory McIlroy has often used Jack Nicklaus as a resource during his young career. This week, however, it was McIlroy who returned the favor.

On Tuesday, the four-time major winner discussed how he helped the 18-time major champ with his golf game. Why? Because Nicklaus wants to out-drive Gary Player when the two legends hit their ceremonial tee shots to officially start the 2017 Masters.

"I think I helped him more than he helped me. I adjusted his driver for him because he's trying to hit it longer than Gary Thursday morning," McIlroy said. "I told him, if he hits it longer than Gary, I want a mention because I adjusted the weight in his driver. He kept hitting it left. I said, If you adjust this, it might help. Obviously he's very old school and whatever. I adjusted it for him and he started hitting these little fades. I was like, Perfect, there you go."

See what you started, Gary?

Player out-drove his old pal last year and wasn't shy about it. In fact, he recently tweeted what seemed like a little trash talk about it -- and also a warning about this year's opening shot.

Player may have the better fitness, but Nicklaus has arguably the best current driver of the golf ball. And McIlroy added that "it's amazing how competitive" Nicklaus still is.

Word travels fast these days, though. Shortly after McIlroy's Tuesday press conference, Player, a nine-time major champ, responded.

Sorry, Gary. Better do a few more push-ups.

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