Tom Watson named honorary starter for Masters

Two-time green jacket winner Tom Watson is an honorary starter at the Masters in April.

Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley made the announcement in a press release on Tuesday.

“I am honored that Tom has accepted our invitation,” Ridley said. “I look forward to commemorating his love for the game and impact on the Masters with his millions of fans across the globe as he hits a tee shot alongside two of the Tournament’s other all-time greats, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.”

Watson, Nicklaus and Player will take the traditional tournament-opening tee shots on Thursday, April 7.

Watson, 72, counted two Masters titles (1977, 1981) among his eight major championships. Nicklaus finished second in both of Watson’s wins at Augusta.

Watson himself was the runner-up at the Masters in 1978, 1979 and 1984. He finished in the top-10 15 times.

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