The Masters Gets Underway As Honorary Starters Hit Ceremonial Tee Shots

The Masters is off and running after Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson found the fairway with their ceremonial tee shots

The Honorary Starters Tom Watson of The United States, Jack Nicklaus of The United States and Gary Player of South Africa pose with Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Just like that, the 2024 Masters is officially underway. 

After heavy rainfall on Thursday morning at Augusta National, the tournament's first round was delayed by two-and-a-half hours. 

However, the tournament's 88th edition has now begun as the three honorary starters - Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson - hit their ceremonial tee shots down the first tee.

It marked the third time that they completed the tradition as a trio and all three showed no signs of their age as they found the heart of their fairway with their respective drives. 

With the ceremonial tee shots done and dusted, it will be down to business for the 89 players in this week's field. World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler is the heavy favourite to pick up a second Masters title, following two wins and a runner-up showing in his last three events.

Rory McIlroy will begin his latest attempt at completing the career grand slam and ending his ten-year major drought. The Northern Irishman tees off alongside Scheffler and world number five Xander Schauffele at 1.12pm.

Defending champion Jon Rahm will hope to become just the fourth person to successfully defend a Masters title, whilst fellow LIV star Joaquin Niemann looks to continue his superb run of form as he looks for a first Major scalp.

Elsewhere, Tiger Woods makes just his second competitive appearance of the year this week as he looks to set a record by making the cut at Augusta for the 24th consecutive year. 

The 15-time Major champion, who continues to struggle with injury, faces an uphill battle due to his 3.45pm tee time on Thursday, meaning he faces the prospect of a mammoth Friday to finish his first round and complete his second round. 

Ben Fleming

Ben joined Golf Monthly having completed his NCTJ in multimedia sports journalism at News Associates, London. He is now a freelance journalist who also works for The Independent, Metro, UEFA and Stats Perform.