After watching the Masters Tournament for many years, I have noticed that the 16th hole has become one of the greatest settings in all of golf. This gem has contributed to golf history, and with the new seating along the bank, it has truly become a wonderful arena for golf's greatest tournament.
Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus have been honored with plaques in the vicinity of this hole, but quite honestly, these two plaques pale in comparison to the bridges dedicated to Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Gene Sarazen. Arnie's and Jack's monuments are out of sight from cameras, and most of the public are unaware that these memorials even exist.
Along with Arnie and Jack, nine-time major champion Gary Player make up the "Big Three" in golf. Player, who helped make the Masters a worldwide entity, has yet to be honored at Augusta, even though he has won three times, has played in more Masters than anyone else, and was the first international player to ever win.
Individually, each has contributed to golf in ways unimaginable. Together, they have blazed a trail for how the game should be played. The three have won a combined 13 green jackets, and in the process they have become icons for sportsmanship and philanthropy.
It is now time to honor these three gentlemen with a bridge crossing a section of the pond at "Redbud." I urge the members of the Augusta National Golf Club to do the right thing: Build a stretch this year, while all three players are still living, and honor them in 2012 with Masters immortality.
Bobby Jones created the Masters -- but combined, Arnie, Jack and Gary have elevated the event to what it is today: golf's greatest tournament! Now it is time for golf's greatest tournament to elevate Arnie, Jack and Gary with the Big Three Bridge.
James P. Southerton