Jack Nicklaus to Join Arnold Palmer as Honorary Starter at 2010 Masters

Jack NicklausMore than two decades removed from his 18th and final major championship triump, the 1986 Masters, Jack Nicklaus will once again make history at Augusta National Golf Club when he joins good friend and former rival Arnold Palmer as Honorary Starter for the 2010 Masters.

“I have had such a long-standing appreciation and love affair with Augusta National and the Masters Tournament, and this honor is a wonderful way for me to say thank you to the many patrons who have supported me over the decades,” said Nicklaus, a six-time champion at Augusta. 

“I am also delighted to join my longtime friend Arnold on the tee," he added. "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. He is so deserving of this honor, and thus I felt it was his time, not mine. Recently, I was invited by both Augusta National and Arnold to join him on the first tee, and because he enthusiastically supported the invitation, it became an easy decision for me.”

The announcement came from Chairman of Augusta National, Billy Payne.

“I am honored that Jack Nicklaus has accepted our invitation,” Payne said. “We are delighted and fortunate to have such a great ambassador and icon of our sport take part in this tradition. He has inspired generations of golfers and having Jack join Arnold on the first tee next April will be a special thrill for his many loyal fans around the world.”

Jack Nicklaus will join Arnold Palmer as an Honorary Starter in 2010

The custom of having Honorary Starters began in 1963 with Jock Hutchison (1963-1973) and Fred McLeod (1963-1976) performing the duties. Byron Nelson (1981-2001, non-consecutive), Gene Sarazen (1981-99), Ken Venturi (1983), Sam Snead (1984-2002) and Arnold Palmer (2007-present) continued the practice.

The presentation of the Honorary Starters and ceremonial tee shots historically take place preceding the first tee time of the first competitive round during Tournament week, signaling the official beginning of Masters competition.

The 2010 Masters is scheduled for April 5-11. 


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