Jack Nicklaus writes 'Love Letter' to the Masters, Augusta National

Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

Jack Nicklaus writes 'Love Letter' to the Masters, Augusta National

Masters

Jack Nicklaus writes 'Love Letter' to the Masters, Augusta National

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Jack Nicklaus walked the nine holes Wednesday during the Par 3 Contest a day before the 83rd Masters at Augusta National.

He admitted afterward that walking is not nearly as easy for him as it once was. Still, walking the nine holes of the Par 3 Contest was as much an obligation for him as it was an honor.

For him and us.

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This year marks the 60th anniversary of Nicklaus’ first trip to the Masters as a player. He stayed at the Crow’s Nest back in 1959 and shot a 76-74 (150) to miss the cut by one stroke as a 19-year-old amateur while attending Ohio State.

Nicklaus been durable enough to play the Masters 45 times, win it six times and see his grandson nail a hole-in-one during the Par 3 Contest last year, a moment Nicklaus referred to multiple times as among his most cherished golf memories.

Nicklaus and Gary Player begin the Masters Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern with the ceremonial tee shot.

But Nicklaus’ presence at Augusta National is much more than ceremonial. He is the game’s ranking living legend – with those 18 majors – and continues to be an influential and respected golf presence at age 79.

On the eve of the Masters, Nicklaus shared his thoughts on what this tournament and its host site has meant to him in what was aptly called “A Love Letter from Jack Nicklaus.”

In his letter, he writes:

“The drive up Magnolia Lane, even 60 years later, still gives me chills. So, thank you Augusta National. Thank you for a lifetime of memories. Thank you providing the perfect background for 60 years and six opportunities to feel the overwhelming satisfaction of slipping on the green jacket.”

He concludes:

“Thank you for providing the unparalleled standard of excellence for our wonderful sport. It has been and will continue to be the utmost honor to have won your great tournament and to be forever called a Masters champion.”

Chills.

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