“I am honored that Tom has accepted our invitation,” Masters President Frederic said in a statement Tuesday. “I look forward to honoring his love of the game and impact on the Masters with his millions of fans around the world as he joins the tournament’s other two all-time greats, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Hit the ball together.”
Watson won the green jacket in 1977 and 1981 and was runner-up three times. His 58-under-par run at Augusta National is second only to Nicklaus, and his career average on the field of 72.74 ranks fifth all-time.
“Augusta National Park in April is one of my favorite places to go,” Watson said in a statement. “Watching the Masters as a young man and then playing in the competition for so many years has many fond memories and I am so honored to join my friends and fellow competitors Jack and Gary as an honorary starter for the upcoming Masters. .
“In both of my wins, Jack was right behind. When Gary won his third championship in 1978, I was there to help him get the green jacket. Moments like these are in my career stand out.”
The Masters has had honorable starters since 1963, when Jock Hutchinson and Fred McLeod started the tradition. Byron Nelson, Gene Saracen, Ken Venturi, Sam Slade, Arnold Palmer and Elder Li Also involved in the role.
As the first black golfer to play in the Masters, Elder broke the racial barrier, joining Nicklaus and Player as honorary starters last year. he died in november 87 years old.
The Masters starts on April 7th.