Round one of Masters is in the books, with many golf legends starting it off
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - With round one almost in the books, there’s still a lot of golf between now and a green jacket.
But already, the 2021 tournament is writing its place in history. Lots of golfers before him took a swing, but Lee Elder is the one who took a stand.
Today’s stand is a bit different as he took his place on the first tee next to 3-time Masters champ Gary Player and 6-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus.
With that, tournament play officially began, and Mr. Elder became etched into Masters history for a second time.
The first time was 46 years ago.
“I remember seeing Lee tee off in 1975. So, this, this means a lot because Lee broke the color barrier at the masters,” Dave Scott, a friend of Elder’s, said.
“A lot of people – like 55 people. A lot of people,” Comedian Christ Tucker said.
That’s how many people were here to celebrate Elder being the first black golfer to compete in the Masters by proudly wearing special hats with the special year.
“Steph Curry. Steph Curry designed them and he did it in honor of Mr. Elder, and we’re all wearing them here today,” Tucker said.
Curry was here in spirit and posted this to his Instagram page.
Chris Tucker says Elder is like a father figure to him.
“He tried to teach me golf. I’m still a work in progress (laughs),” he said.
Golfer Remington Avent went to college on a golf scholarship thanks in part to what he learned from Elder. Still, he says his most important lessons had nothing to do with how to play the game.
“Character first at all times. Represent yourself. Be classy. Treat everyone with the utmost amount of kindness and humility,” Avent said.
After that historic 1975 tournament, Elder went on to play the Masters five more times. His best finish at Augusta was a tie for 17th, but just earning an invitation was enough to inspire Tiger Woods, who calls Elder one of his heroes.
“I certainly will continue to do my best and do what I can to continue to further enhance golf into the professional ring,” Elder said.
Growing the game, just by being here, hopefully inspiring a whole new generation of young golfers.
“It was just absolutely fantastic for the people of any color around the world,” 3-times Masters champion Gary Player said.
“Having Lee there was the right thing to do. The nice thing to do,” Nicklaus said.
It’s also a powerful reminder the game of golf isn’t a game for a select few. It is a game for everyone.
MORE FROM THE MASTERS
- Masters 2021: Here are the latest details, continuously updated
- With mixture of excitement and tradition, Masters 2021 gets underway
- Honorary starters Lee Elder, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player launch Masters 2021
Copyright 2021 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.