WATCH: Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Elder kick off Masters as honorary starters
Now, it’s officially Masters week. The first round of the 85th Masters got underway early Thursday, as Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Lee Elder met on the 1st tee as honorary starters to hit the ceremonial opening tee shots.
Nicklaus and Player have held this honor for years, along with Arnold Palmer before his death in 2016, but Elder was a guest addition for 2021. In 1975, Elder became the first Black golfer to play in the Masters. Now, 46 years later, he’s a guest honorary starter for this year. Elder did not strike a shot at 7:45 a.m. on Thursday morning, but he was there with friends and family, along two other legends, getting the Masters started once again in its usual April date.
“Today, Lee Elder will inspire us, and make history once more,” ANGC Chairman Fred Ridley said. “Not with a drive, but with his presence, strength and character. Lee, it is my privilege to say, you have the honors.”
This year also served as somewhat of a return to normalcy since last year’s tee shots were hit without patrons on site. Limited patrons are allowed this year and a good crowd watched the men Thursday morning, including a handful of pros like Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Cameron Champ.
Check out the clip of Nicklaus and Player hitting their ceremonial shots below.