Defending champ Spieth tees off at the Masters

Player and Nicklaus launch 80th Masters

Lahiri shot three-under for a score of 24, while Walker shot a record score of 19 with six birdies and an ace.

American Jim Herman was then given the honour of hitting the first competitive ball in play shortly after, with Australian Steven Bowditch in the same group setting the pace for the opening round. Now he's trying to become only the fourth back-to-back champion in tournament history. Spieth managed to get only to eight feet from the cup.

Honorary starters Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player pose together on the first tee of Augusta National.

Player, who in 2012 joined this distinctly Masters ceremony of golfing titans hitting a single tee ball to signal the start of the season's first major, was off first.

Interestingly, Player had Indian businessman, KP Singh of DLF, on his bag for the ceremonial tee shot.

Yes, I do. I was very fortunate to have both Ken Venturi and Byron Nelson take me around the golf course.

"That was a lot of fun, having Mr KP Singh on the bag for a while".

Mickelson credited his longevity to the long, languid swing he uses that is philosophically different from the swing taught and used today by most PGA Tour players.

No matter how many major championships Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy ultimately will win - and hats off to their budding legacies - they never will be as big as the Big Three.

Crowds following the leaders were often only 2 deep and were allowed to stand behind the players on the fairway for many shots; the dearth of camera angles meant the cup was often blocked by a caddie or player when a crucial putt was stroked.

"I think that everybody was happy to see Arnold out on the tee", said the 76-year-old Nicklaus. Two police officers quickly recognized him and were more than happy to let Nicklaus - and his son in the vehicle behind him - drive right on through.

"Well it is old", said Nicklaus, who first played at the Masters in 1959. They root for it. Nicklaus mentioned that Justin Thomas was struggling last week and asked if he could talk it over. "I have a sneaky suspicion if Arnold wants to, he would be welcome to hit a golf ball if he'd like", said Nicklaus. That said, I will definitely be tuning in to watch the Masters this week.

"I didn't lose this tournament", Kite said afterward.

"I need to scan it", he said.

"It hasn't come and by the looks of things, it probably won't". When he started with a 74, people said, "we didn't expect him to do anything else".

"Bruce, I'll leave the egg salad sandwich on the 13th tee on that bench on Thursday".

Just making it to the first tee at Augusta National was a thrill for 20-year-old Derek Bard, a senior at the University of Virginia who qualified for his first Masters as the runner-up in the 2015 U.S. Amateur championship.

"I thought the putt went to the right, away from Rae's Creek", Jackie said. "We had a very unusual friendship among competitors".

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