News 12 Midday / Thursday, April 7, 2011
AUGUSTA---There's always a sense of excitement and anticipation as the first round starts. The ceremonial first tee shot is a can't miss event for people who are serious about this tournament, and there were plenty of patrons out there today.
Right around 7:40 this morning, both Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer made their way to the first tee, surrounded by their adoring fans. Up first was the King. This marks Palmer's fifth year of acting as honorary starter. The four-time champ is still the king, and nobody doubts that fact.
Then it was the Golden Bear's turn. On the 25th anniversary of his most famous win, Nicklaus striped one out there as well. He watched his ball, making a shooing motion to encourage it to go farther down the fairway...but hey, he's more than ecstatic to be alongside Palmer to start the Masters.
"You stand on the first tee and you sort of say, 'Hey, you know, I used to be here. This was fun, and we enjoyed it.' Arnold and I both looked at each other, and we were on the practice tee this morning, and 'You know,' he said, 'it was 1955 the first time I hit it out here.' I said, 'I wasn't far behind you, it was 1959."
"Well I'd be more comfortable if I was following that ball down the fairway and chasing all these guys out here," Palmer said. "But yes, I'm comfortable. I'm happy that I'm still here and I'm happy to be able to see all the people that I see."
As for the leaderboard, there are a couple of surprises. Ross Fisher is looking good right now, and Retief Goosen held out for an eagle on number one.