It took a bit of prodding from the press before Nicklaus would eventually concede that his 64 was "as fine a round as I've ever had." Even then he felt obliged to qualify the statement by adding, "except for my bad drives; but as far as knowing what I was doing with the ball." He refused to speculate on what the next day might bring. "I just want to finish one stroke ahead of the field," he insisted. "I'll just go out there and try to play it the way I did today." When he realized what he had said, he broke out laughing.
Sunday was strictly for laughs, and whatever the scalpers were getting for tickets they should have been ashamed to be selling entry to a sporting event that was already over. Before Nicklaus could even tee off, the rest of the contenders—if that's what they could be called—were having more troubles. Nicklaus never did have any, and though he later said he did not relax until he was past the dangerous 12th hole, his 69 had a commanding, effortless air about it. Without a doubt he had taken possession of the Augusta National course as well as seizing a host of its records. When his last putt fell he snatched the ball out of the hole and joyously threw it into the crowd. Within minutes he was accepting the traditional green coat and the big trophy, and Masters officials can be excused if they were keeping a close eye on the Eisenhower cottage. It was about the only thing around that Nicklaus had not taken as his own.
"I have an aversion to superlatives," Bobby Jones told Jack Nicklaus at the presentation ceremonies, "but this was the greatest performance in all golfing history."
And then, moments later and before a much smaller audience, the man who founded the Masters added another thought. "Palmer and Player played superbly," he said. "Nicklaus plays a game with which I am not familiar."