Watson, who held disconnected Nicklaus successful his Masters victories successful 1977 and 1981, becomes the 11th subordinate to beryllium an honorary starter dating to 1963.
All but 4 of them were Masters champions, including Lee Elder, the archetypal Black golfer to implicit successful the Masters successful 1975. Elder was invited to beryllium a one-time honorary starter past year, though his wellness kept him from swinging a club.
While the nine was not specific, Watson is apt to beryllium a regular connected the archetypal tee each Thursday morning, a elemental enactment that draws thousands of fans astir the tee and spilling down some sides of the fairway.
A procreation down the "Big Three" of Palmer, Nicklaus and Player, Watson was the adjacent large 1 successful golf. He won 8 majors successful his Hall of Fame career, each but the PGA Championship. His champion moments were with Nicklaus, beating the Golden Bear doubly for a greenish jacket, chipping successful to bushed him astatine Pebble Beach successful the U.S. Open and and winning the fabled "Duel successful the Sun" astatine Turnberry successful the 1977 British Open.
He played his archetypal Masters successful 1970 arsenic an amateur, and past returned successful 1974 aft winning the Western Open for the archetypal of his 39 PGA Tour victories. Watson ne'er missed different Masters until playing the past clip successful 2016.
"Augusta National successful April is 1 of my favourite places to be," Watson said successful a statement.
"With the galore fond memories of some watching the Masters arsenic a youngster and past competing successful the tourney for truthful galore years, I americium greatly honoured to articulation my friends and chap competitors, Jack and Gary, arsenic an honorary starter successful this upcoming Masters."
Watson said competing with Nicklaus and helping Player into the greenish overgarment erstwhile the South African won for the 3rd clip successful 1978 are moments that basal retired successful his career.
Nicklaus, the six-time Masters champion, has been an honorary starter since 2010, portion Player started successful 2012.
Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod started successful 1963. Others were Byron Nelson, Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen, and past Arnold Palmer. Also, Ken Venturi filled successful 1 twelvemonth erstwhile Nelson couldn't marque it.
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