Christy O’Connor Senior turned down every invitation to play at Augusta but three-time Masters winner Gary Player insists that Himself is still his hero.
The Man in Black has fond memories of his former British Open rival — beating him by four shots in 1959 to win his first Claret Jug at Muirfield.
Player gushed: “Christy Senior? What a man. He was bionic. I remember he was a man who would finish half a bottle of whiskey and go out and still beat you.
“It used to frustrate the c**p out of me that he could be that good.
“He and Sam Snead were the two greatest natural players the world has ever seen. Christy O’Connor and Sam Snead.”
O’Connor never took up his invitations to play in the Masters because it was too expensive to travel to the US for just one tournament at a time of year when his game would be rusty.
The Galway legend turns 90 on December 21 and while he had 10 Top-10 finishes in the Open, he couldn’t hole enough putts to win the only major he ever played.
Player insisted: “If Christy O’Connor could have putted like me, he would have won 10 majors. Wristy Christy.
“Of course, he putted on crappy greens too. But Christy O’Connor was the best bad weather player of all time.
“He was the best the world has ever seen. Nobody could beat Christy O’Connor in rain and wind. No man ever could come close.
“It’s quite sad from my point of view that a man like that never won at least four or five or six majors.
“But you see that with many players. He’s 89 now? 90 in December? I bet he still hits balls. I remember Royal Dublin very well. Tell him he’s Gary Player’s hero.”