Get the Ball Rolling

Masters Guide

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Another multiple Masters Tournament winner will be on the first tee for the honorary starters ceremony this year.

Two-time Masters champion Tom Watson has shared many special memories at Augusta National Golf Club with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Now, he is about to add one more to the list.

Watson will join Nicklaus, a six-time Masters winner, and Player, who has three green jackets, on the first tee Thursday, April 7 as an honorary starter.

“Augusta National in April is one of my favorite places to be,” Watson said. “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.

“In both of my victories, Jack was on my heels. And when Gary won his third tournament in 1978, I was there to help him put on the green jacket. Moments like those stand out in my career, and the opportunity to share the honorary starter tradition with Jack, Gary and the Masters patrons will be very special.”

Watson earned his first green jacket in 1977 when he shot a final round 67 to defeat Nicklaus by two strokes. As defending champion a year later, he finished one shot behind Player in a tie for second place.

In the 1981 Masters, Watson fended off runners-up Nicklaus and Johnny Miller with a 71 in the final round for a two-stroke victory.

He finished runner-up three times in his 15 top 10 showings at Augusta National. He also finished in the top 3 six times and the top 5 nine times. One of 17 players to win multiple Masters, Watson’s 72.74 scoring average ranks fifth in tournament history.

After competing in the Masters as an amateur in 1970, Watson made 42 consecutive starts from 1975-2016, the fifth-longest streak in the history of the tournament. His 58 subpar rounds are second all-time behind Nicklaus (71), and he holds the record for most consecutive years with at least one subpar round (21, 1975-1995).

Watson also is the oldest victor in the Par 3 Contest. When he was 68 years old, he won the nine-hole contest for the second time in 2018.

Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, announced in January that Watson will join Nicklaus and Player as an honorary starter at the 86th Masters.

By Betsy Gilliland