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The Masters: Lee Elder plays a ceremonial role with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player at Augusta |  Golf news


Lee Elder, the first black man to play in the Masters in 1975, enjoys more history at Augusta National by joining Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as honorary starters.

Last updated: 08/04/21 15:47 pm



The Masters: Lee Elder plays a ceremonial role with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player at Augusta |  Golf news







1:31

Lee Elder, the first black golfer to play at the Masters, was greeted warmly when he joined Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as the new honorary starter.

Lee Elder, the first black golfer to play at the Masters, was greeted warmly when he joined Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as the new honorary starter.

Lee Elder was greeted with enthusiasm as he enjoyed another moment in Masters history shortly before the start of the 85th edition of the tournament.

Elder made a revolutionary appearance as a player in 1975 when he became the first black man to compete at Augusta National, the first of his six Masters starts.

His impact on the wider golfing community was acknowledged by an invitation to join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as honorary starters before the first round on a beautiful Thursday morning, a moment described by Elder as “something I will treasure for. the rest of my life”. .

The Masters: Lee Elder plays a ceremonial role with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player at Augusta |  Golf news

The elder was greeted warmly by players, customers and members of Augusta

The 86-year-old was unfortunately unable to participate in an opening ceremony, although he mustered the strength to stand up from his wheelchair to acknowledge the standing ovation after his laudatory introduction from the Augusta president, Fred Ridley.

Elder was in high spirits as he watched Player and Nicklaus kick off their practices down the center of the fairway, Player even managing a high-scoring kick to celebrate an extremely impressive and supple swing for an 85-year-old.

“I certainly want to thank you very much for this great opportunity,” Elder said afterwards. “For me and my family, I think it was one of the most moving experiences I have ever witnessed or been involved in.

The Masters: Lee Elder plays a ceremonial role with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player at Augusta |  Golf news

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“This is definitely something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. My heart is very sweet this morning, sweet because of the wonderful things I have encountered since arriving here on Monday and being able to see some of the greats. friends who I’ve made the last few years, especially like these two gentlemen (Nicklaus and Player) here.

“We competed against each other, and we certainly had a lot of good times. I just want to say thank you very much for having me here. It’s a great honor, and I treasure it very much, and I will be. always. cherish it, and I want to thank the president for granting me this great privilege. “

Six-time Masters champion Nicklaus added: “I think having Lee was the right thing to do, the right thing to do. I told Lee, if he could hit, hit the tee, he wouldn’t. there’s no way in the world he wouldn’t. don’t get over me!

“It’s always a great experience to open the Masters, and Gary and I have had the privilege of doing so for the past few years, and it was great to share that first tee with Lee and Gary.”

The Masters: Lee Elder plays a ceremonial role with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player at Augusta |  Golf news

The Masters: Lee Elder plays a ceremonial role with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player at Augusta |  Golf news 3:05
Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player hit the honorary tee shots ahead of the 85th Masters first round at Augusta National

Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player hit the honorary tee shots ahead of the 85th Masters first round at Augusta National

Player, a three-time winner at Augusta and the first international Masters champion, recalled the difficulties Elder faced when he invited him to South Africa for their apartheid-era PGA national championship towards the end of the 1960s.

“It was a very historic moment for me,” he said. “I have had the privilege of having a great friend and a man I admire so much in Jack Nicklaus, the greatest gentleman who ever played golf, without a question.

“In 1969, I think it was, I invited Lee Elder to come to South Africa, and it’s pretty sad to think that back then, with the policy of segregating Africa South, I had to go see my president and get permission. for Lee Elder to come and play in our PGA. It’s pretty sad, but things have progressed since we had this wonderful man, Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest leaders the world has ever had.

“Lee Elder came down, and he was under tremendous pressure from the people of this country, mostly black people, which is understandable, and I was called a traitor. Lee Elder on my way to Africa from the South won the Nigeria Open, came to South Africa, played in our PGA and received standing ovations.

The Masters: Lee Elder plays a ceremonial role with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player at Augusta |  Golf news

The Masters: Lee Elder plays a ceremonial role with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player at Augusta |  Golf news 4:22
Before Lee Elder takes on the role of honorary starter at The Masters, we take a look back at the American’s career and how he has become an iconic part of Masters history.

Before Lee Elder takes on the role of honorary starter at The Masters, we take a look back at the American’s career and how he has become an iconic part of Masters history.

“I have always been amazed that the Presidents of the United States bestow these various awards on athletes for their athletic prowess, and there was a man who changed his life and changed and put a word in the wheel of segregation. in South Africa and was never given the awards he really deserved.

“He received the Bobby Jones Award, that Jack and I were there, and to be awarded and awarded here today, which he so richly deserves. But when you do something for the human being and for freedom, which is sadly dying in the fast paced world right now, it’s a very historic moment for me.

“And also seeing Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson on that tee brought back memories of me because I used to go and see Jock Hutchison play before playing. It confirms the fact that they have such a respect for this game that has brought people together in the world to such an extent, it’s pretty amazing. “

Check out the video above to see Lee Elder do more Masters history ahead of the 85th Masters. Watch extensive live coverage of Augusta National on our dedicated channel – Sky Sports The Masters.

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