Aaaaaand They’re Off…
Like many great combos throughout history, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, Hall & Oates, Starsky & Hutch, Peanut Butter & Jelly, an unconscious hooker and industrial grade cellophane wrap, Jack Nickalus and Arnold Palmer were together this morning on the first tee box of the hallowed grounds of Augusta National. Arguably the two greatest golfers the world has ever seen, the two distinguished gentlemen kicked off the Masters earlier this morning as honorary starters. Since 1963 when honorary starters were first used, many greats have set their ball on the tee and gave the ball a good whack, but watching both Nickalus and Palmer do it was a real treat for everyone and a sight to behold.
Video of the ceremonial start can be found here. Stupid ESPN won’t allow embedding of the video. Jackasses.
Via the AP:
Masters chairman Billy Payne introduced the 80-year-old Palmer as the player who “symbolized the game of golf around the world and remains universally loved and embraced.”
Palmer stuck his tee in the ground, then looked over at the gallery and said, “Get your ear muffs on because I’m going to …,” Palmer said, not finishing the bold prediction when the crowd erupted in laughter.
He swung from the heels, as always, and the shot peeled toward the right side of the fairway. Even his rival was impressed.
“That was pretty good,” Nicklaus told him.
Nicklaus, who turned 70 in January, for years resisted being an honorary starter. He has never been about ceremonial golf, even for one shot. He relented to Payne’s request after giving Palmer the tee box alone for three years.
“How did you do that?” Nicklaus said to Palmer, as if asking for advice.
“Keep your eye on the ball,” Palmer replied.
“And your head down,” Nicklaus added.
So, here we go. It should be a real humdinger.
Yeah, I went with humdinger. Big deal. You wanna fight about it?
Arnie & Jack get the Masters started [AP]