Masters carries on long tradition of honorary starters

Updated: Apr. 6, 2023 at 6:51 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Masters is steeped in tradition, and one of its best-known traditions is the honorary start.

This morning, Masters royalty officially christened tournament play: Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson, who isn’t fully recovered from an injury back in November.

“That’s not the normal hand I tee it up with. You don’t ride go-karts at my age,” he said. “Yeah, you do.”

The two-time Masters champ was in a go-kart accident on the track he made for his grand kids and had shoulder replacement surgery back in November.

So it’s impressive he was able to hit this morning, not even six months out.

It’s his second year on the first tee.

Nicklaus, Player and Watson have a total of 11 green jackets among them, as well as 140 Masters appearances across six decades.

And as always, a sea of patrons gathered to pay tribute to these golf legends.

“The ability to play a game for a living. You all work for a living, right? I play a game for a living. You can’t get any luckier than that,” Watson said.

Player said: “This is my 65th appearance here, and you walk on the first tee, and you say, ‘well, this might be the last one, so the word is gratitude for me.”

Nicklaus is also celebrating a major milestone.

This is the 60th anniversary of his first Masters win.