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“Gary Player is so cheap he wouldn’t give ducks a free drink if he owned Lake Okeechobee,” Palmer said to laughs.

But Player’s stories are priceless, recalling how he met Elvis Presley once and his critique of how new equipment is making golf courses obsolete. And when Player stops briefly, Nicklaus steps in with timing as slick as any straight man.

They combined Tuesday for an event titled the “Big 3 for Mountain Mission Kids” at an exclusive Virginia club’s first public event trying to set another PGA record by raising the most money in a single day in tour history. Their goal at The Olde Farm was to raise at least $12 million for the Mountain Mission School, an 89 year old school for needy children.

How powerful are these three together?

Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt was among the admiring fans,
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getting an autograph from Player before introducing herself to Nicklaus. She followed the trio around this reclusive course tucked away atop the mountains near the Virginia Tennessee border even as people asked her for her own autograph.

All three golfers are members at The Olde Farm, a club carved out of farmland off a quiet country road back in 2000. Privacy and escape are the biggest assets for members like four time NASCAR Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, the Mannings Archie and sons Peyton and Eli, South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier and baseball Hall of Famer George Brett.

That membership helped this high dollar fundraiser dream big to endow the Mountain Mission School in nearby Grundy, Va. Founded in 1921,
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the school funded only by donation houses and teaches nearly 300 needy children from as young as 18 months to as old as 20.

Main sponsorship came from Johnson Johnson with support from the PGA Tour and pricey fees for each threesome who got to play one hole apiece Tuesday with the golfing legends, finishing each hole to stop for photos. TV cameras also recorded the action for CBS. A documentary is slotted to air July 10.

The event also featured a silent auction that included NFL jerseys from each of the Mannings in a single display case, a bat signed by Brett, spa getaways, signed footballs from Spurrier and new Tennessee coach Derek Dooley,
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Johnson’s signed driving gloves from his 2009 title season, a VIP package at a Virginia Tech football game, tickets to Alabama Tennessee football in October and a signed basketball from Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari.

Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer and former Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga also came out for the event.

But the biggest attraction? The three legends miked up so fans could hear each quip on free radios handed out at the entrance.

Fans cheered every shot down the middle of the fairway and surged toward Palmer, Nicklaus and Player for autographs and photos between shots even as carts helped Palmer, 80,
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and Nicklaus, 70, around the course. Player, 74, signed as he walked.

Nikki Bailey,
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who knew the golfers from her years working for course founder Jim McGlothlin, surprised Palmer with a sign declaring her love for him at the first green. She ran out and gave him a hug. “I love you too,” Palmer said. Someone started to introduce Bailey to Nicklaus when Palmer noticed.