Gary Player breaks Masters record

Gary Player finally has Arnold Palmer beaten.

When Player tees off on Thursday, it will be his 51st Masters. That tops by one the record he shared with The King for most Masters played.

Player already holds the record for most consecutive British Opens played — 46.

”The word that comes to mind is ‘thankful’,” the 72-year-old said.

”Most people my age are dead! To be able to walk around here easily, to be playing Augusta at my age is a great thrill.”

Though he’s only made the cut four times in the last 20 years, that hardly matters. The South African won nine Major titles during his illustrious career, including three at Augusta National. He is one of only five golfers to win the career Grand Slam, and he’s still a big draw, even with people who didn’t see him play in his prime.

When he, Palmer and Jack Nicklaus played together in the Par-Three Contest on Wednesday, they drew some of the biggest cheers of the week so far.

Though Player said last year that he might stop at 51, don’t count him out. He’s a fitness fanatic, and looks — and acts — years younger than he is. He may not be in contention at the Masters, but he’s not embarrassing himself, either. He shot a 77 in the second round last year.

”You never take it for granted,” Player said, referring to playing in the Masters. ”It’s a great thrill.” — Sapa-AP

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