By Andrew Both
AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) – Lee Elder was warmly welcomed on the Masters when he joined Jack Nicklaus and Gary Participant as a new honorary starter for the 2021 match that started at Augusta National on Thursday.
A incandescent solar had barely risen over the clubhouse when 86-year-aged Elder, the most valuable Gloomy man to compete within the Masters in 1975, was pushed to the most valuable tee in a golf cart as a new main season dawned.
Elder has miniature mobility and did now no longer hit a tee shot.
Rapidly after Elder, nine-times main winner Gary Participant, sprightly as ever at 85, emerged from the clubhouse and hugged Nicklaus’s wife Barbara.
He then ventured to the tee with six-times Masters champion and 18-times main winner Nicklaus, who wore a yellow sweater to fend off a itsy-bitsy chill within the crisp morning air.
A gallery of loads of hundred of us had been readily readily available, relating to the identical quantity who had been in attendance when the November Masters was conducted formally without paying spectators, even when members and their guests, as nicely as media, swelled the numbers.
“At the present time, Lee Elder will inspire us and make history,” mentioned Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley.
“Lee, it is miles my privilege to say, ‘you’ve gotten the honors’.”
Elder acknowledged the warm applause, sooner than Ridley subsequently introduced three-times Masters winner Participant, who fracture up the most valuable fairway with a improbable pressure that went a staunch 200 yards.
Nicklaus, 81 and now no longer rather as nimble as Participant, also hit the golf green, even when his swing was now no longer as fluid and his pressure was some 40 yards shorter than Participant’s.
With that the 85th Masters was formally underway.
American citizens Michael Thompson and Hudson Swafford had been the most valuable pairing at 8 a.m. native time (1200 GMT).
Defending champion Dustin Johnson was due out at 10.30 a.m.
There is a itsy-bitsy chance of rain on Thursday, with the chance of unpleasant weather rising on Friday and Saturday.
(Reporting by Andrew Both; Making improvements to by Toby Davis)