ATLANTA (Reuters) - The new ‘Big Three’ of Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy have their own views on being compared to the second coming of a golfing trio the likes of Nicklaus, Palmer and Player.
It is, of course, premature to compare these 20-somethings that have won a combined seven majors to the accomplishments of Jack Nicklaus (18 majors), Arnold Palmer (7) and Gary Player (9), McIlroy pointed out on Wednesday.
Yet the young trio have taken turns as world number one over the past month and have won five of the last six majors.
The 26-year-old Northern Irishman played along.
“Jordan’s sort of like Jack, methodical and sort of does everything that way,” four-times major winner McIlroy said on the eve of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club.
“I would be Gary, because I‘m the smallest. Then I guess that would leave Jason as Arnie. But who knows, we’ll just have to let it all play out and see.”
Day, 27, took the question about being in a Big Three with McIlroy and Spieth in an entirely different direction.
“It’s like Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy had a baby and I was it,” said the Australian, drawing a stunned burst of laughter from the press corps. “Because I’ve got Rory’s length and I‘m hoping that I’ve got Jordan’s touch.”
McIlroy, Day and Spieth all mentioned Players Championship winner Rickie Fowler, who also won the FedExCup’s Deutsche Bank Championship this month, as belonging in the discussion of dominant players among golf’s new wave.
Spieth went even further, shrugging off the moniker of a Big Three, saying it is subject to who is hot.
“I think that the ‘Big number-whatever-it-is’, changes. I’ve seen it change week-to-week out here,” said 22-year-old Spieth.
”There was a Big 2, there was Big 1, there was Big 2, there was a Big 3, there was Big 2, there was Big 4. I mean, Brooks Koepka wins this week, it’s the Big 5.
“We all respect each other, we’re all close to each other, we’re friends,” added Spieth.
“The fact that five out of the last six majors are won by guys in their 20s and you would consider young, up-and-comers, it just shows that in the biggest stages of what we do, we’re fearless, and we embrace the opportunity.”
Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Frank Pingue