Tom Watson To Join Jack Nicklaus And Gary Player As Honorary Starter At The Masters

Watson will join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as an Honorary Starter for the 86th edition of the Masters.

Watson, Player And Nicklaus During The Masters Par 3 Event
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The tradition of the Honorary Starter at The Masters (opens in new tab) dates back to 1963, with many, many legends of the game previously having the honour of hitting the first tee shots of the week at Augusta National.

Previously Byron Nelson, Gene Sarazen, Ken Venturi, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer and Lee Elder have been Honorary Starters and now, two-time Masters champion, Tom Watson, will join the illustrious list alongside current starters Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. (opens in new tab)

Elder, Nicklaus and Player on the 1st Tee

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club (opens in new tab) and the Masters Tournament, announced that Watson will join both Nicklaus and Player, with the 86th edition of the tournament beginning Thursday, 7th April, 2022.

“I am honoured that Tom has accepted our invitation,” said Ridley. “I look forward to commemorating his love for the game and impact on the Masters with his millions of fans across the globe, as he hits a tee shot alongside two of the tournament’s other all-time greats, Jack Nicklaus (opens in new tab) and Gary Player.”

Watson Puts The Green Jacket On Player

Watson puts the famous 'Green Jacket' (opens in new tab) on Player at the trophy presentation in 1978.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Watson, who previously won the Masters in 1977 and 1981, made 42 consecutive starts from 1975-2016, the fifth-longest streak in the tournament's history. During those 42 starts, he managed an amazing 15 top-10's and is also only one of 17 players to win multiple Masters tournaments (opens in new tab)

Speaking about his Honorary Starter inclusion, Watson said “Augusta National in April is one of my favourite places to be. I have many fond memories of both watching the Masters as a youngster and then competing in the Tournament for so many years. I am greatly honoured to join my friends and fellow competitors, Jack and Gary, as an Honorary Starter in this upcoming Masters (opens in new tab).

"In both of my victories, Jack was on my heels. And when Gary won his third Tournament in 1978, I was there to help him put on the Green Jacket. Moments like those stand out in my career, and the opportunity to share the Honorary Starter tradition with Jack, Gary and the Masters patrons will be very special.”

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x