The Masters’ first black player humbled after role as honorary starter

Lee Elder, who was the first black player to compete within the Masters, mentioned his coronary heart was “soft because of wonderful things” after becoming a member of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as an honorary starter at Augusta National.

Elder made his Masters debut in 1975 and recorded a finest end of joint seventeenth in 1979 from six appearances.

The 86-year-old was not in a position to hit a ceremonial drive on the opening gap however was warmly applauded after being launched to the spectators by Masters chairman Fred Ridley.

“Today, Lee Elder will inspire us and make history once more, not with a drive, but with his presence, strength and character,” Ridley mentioned.

Nicklaus, 81, and Player, 85, hit drives on the first earlier than retiring to the clubhouse and giving a press convention alongside Elder.

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“For me and my family, I think it was one of the most emotional experiences that I have ever witnessed or been involved in,” Elder mentioned.

“It is actually one thing that I’ll cherish for the remainder of my life as a result of I’ve cherished coming to Augusta National and taking part in right here with lots of my mates which are members right here, and on the request and invitation of (former event director) Buzzy Johnson, who has additionally had me.

“My coronary heart may be very delicate this morning, not heavy delicate, delicate due to the fantastic issues that I’ve encountered since arriving right here on Monday and having the ability to see among the nice mates that I’ve remodeled the previous years, particularly like these two gents which are right here.

“We have competed towards one another, and we now have actually loved plenty of nice moments.

“I just want to say thank you so very much to have me here. It’s a great honour, and I cherish it very much, and I will always cherish it, and I want to thank the chairman for extending me this great privilege.”


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