Tom Watson to join Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player as Masters honorary starter

Tom Watson will join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player on the first tee at this year’s Masters early on Day 1 as an honorary starter.

Augusta National announced Tuesday the addition of Watson, a two-time Masters champion, to the group. It’s unclear if Watson will be a permanent member of the threesome or if this year’s appearance is a one-off.

“Augusta National in April is one of my favorite places to be,” Watson said in a statement. “With the many fond memories of both watching the Masters as a youngster and then competing in the tournament for so many years, I am greatly honored to join my friends and fellow competitors, Jack and Gary, as an honorary starter in this upcoming Masters.”

Arnold Palmer had served as an honorary starter until he died in 2016. Lee Elder joined Nicklaus and Player on the first tee at last year’s Masters, although he was unable to hit a tee shot.

The tradition of honorary starters began at the 1963 Masters. Watson will be the 11th player to participate in the ceremony.

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