A blustery Masters opening round | Seen and Heard at Augusta Day 4

Welcome to GOLF.com’s “Seen & Heard” video series, in which we give you an inside look at golf’s biggest events through the eyes and ears of our onsite crew. On deck this week: the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Let’s go!

ICYMI: Arrivals and a Masters Monday unlike any other | Seen & Heard at Augusta Days 1 and 2
ICYMI: Masters anticipation and yearly traditions at Augusta | Seen and Heard at Augusta Day 3

After a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay, the 2024 Masters Tournament is officially underway.

Thursday morning’s weather turned out much better than expected, leading our team to ponder whether the tournament could have gone on as scheduled on their way to Augusta National.

But that would have meant one of the Masters’ most unique traditions, the honorary starters ceremony, would have been held under stormy skies. When the ceremony did kick off at 10:10 a.m., GOLF’s Nick Piastowski sought to answer one mystery.

Gary Player
Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson hit at the Masters. But 1 mystery follows
By: Nick Piastowski

“I wanted to know what happens to the golf balls themselves,” Piastowski said.

Piastowski stood by the landing area until three gentlemen walked out to collect the balls and whisk them away to parts unknown. When our man inquired as to the destination, he was told, “That is top secret.”

Ultimately, the secret was blown by one of the honorary starters himself, Jack Nicklaus.

“We sign them and they go into a case here, I think,” the six-time green jacket winner said.

At least that’s what they want you to think.

On to the actual tournament where Bryson DeChambeau seemingly came out of nowhere to grab the early lead with a seven-under 65.

bryson dechambeau
Bryson DeChambeau has changed. Here’s why he’s leading the Masters
By: Sean Zak

“Incredible driving, incredible putting, which is how he won at Winged Foot [at the 2020 U.S. Open],” Sean Zak said. “Drive it farther than anybody, hit it straight and made a ton of putts.”

But right behind him is 2022 Masters champion and World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler at six under.

The first round was not completed Thursday, with stars like Tiger Woods still on the course. Woods was one under through 13 holes in just his second start since last year’s Masters when play stopped. James Colgan followed him through Amen Corner and witnessed one moment you may have missed.

But Claire Rogers was more focused on Woods’ playing partner, Max Homa, who also played with Woods two summers ago at the Open Championship at St. Andrews. Homa seemed to be comfortable as he finished up a round of five-under 67 Friday morning, his best round at a major ever.

To catch up on the GOLF team’s activities in Augusta, check out the full video above — and stay tuned for more Seen & Heard throughout the week.

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.