Master 2021 Ceremonial Shot: Lee Elder Worthy as Honorary Starter with Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player

AUGUSTA, Ga. – A man who will not hit a single bullet at the 2021 Masters this year stole a show at Augusta National on Thursday morning. Lee Elder – the first Negro to play at the Masters in 1975 – was honored by August National President Fred Ridley, active golfers and a staff of patrons on the first t-thief as Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player hit their ceremonial punches. .

Elder did not participate in the swing, but received a standing ovation from everyone present, including former champions Bubbu Watson and Phil Mickelson, both of whom appeared in green jackets. They were joined by the only black player on this field, Cameron Champ.

Ridley announced at the Masters 2020 in November that Elder would be honored this year, and it was fantastic to see that come true on Thursday, even if he didn’t feel capable enough to swing the bat. Elder played in six Masters in total and never finished better than T17, but he won four times in his PGA Tour career and did something much more important than collecting major trophy championships.

The elder paved the way – even in the midst of threats and hostility – for future black golfers to compete at the highest level. It’s no small feat, and given the fact that the best player of all time is also Black, and has also entered the history of August National, it is one of the more glorious realities in the history of golf. That changed this week, especially at the first teapot on Thursday morning.

“Well, I definitely want to thank you for this great opportunity,” the elder said. “For me and my family, I think it was one of the most emotional experiences I’ve ever seen or been involved in. It’s definitely something I’ll keep for the rest of my life, because I loved coming to Augusta National and playing here the time I played here with many of my friends who are members here, and at the request and invitation of Buzzy Johnson, who also had me.

“But my heart is very soft to me this morning. It’s not hard soft, soft because of the wonderful things I’ve encountered since I arrived here on Monday and I’ve been able to see some of the great friends I’ve made over the years, especially like these two gentlemen who are here.We competed against each other and we certainly enjoyed a lot of pleasant moments.I just want to thank you for being here.I am very honored and very much appreciate him and will always cherish him and I want to thank the chairman for giving me this great privilege. “