AUGUSTA, Ga. — Jack Nicklaus has a tee time again at the Masters.
Augusta National announced Monday that Nicklaus will join Arnold Palmer as an honourary starter for next year’s Masters.
Nicklaus is a six-time Masters champion who last played the tournament in 2005. He says he accepted the invitation because it was also supported by Palmer, his longtime friend who began hitting the ceremonial tee shot in 2007.
Nicklaus will become the eighth honourary starter. The tradition began at the Masters in 1963, when Nicklaus won his first green jacket.
Sam Snead hit the opening tee shot in 2002, but the Masters didn’t have an honourary starter again until Palmer two years ago. Palmer decided next year to have a playing partner.
“I have always had great respect for Arnold and his legacy at the Masters, and I did not, in any way, want to infringe on the opportunity for Arnold to have and enjoy this Masters tradition for himself,” Nicklaus said in a statement. “He is so deserving of this honour, and thus I felt it was his time, not mine.”
He added that because Palmer “enthusiastically supported the invitation, it became an easy decision for me.”
The 2010 Masters is scheduled for April 5-11.