AUGUSTA, Ga. – The 2016 Masters Tournament officially kicks off Thursday at 8:05 a.m.
That’s when honorary starters and golf icons Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus will usher in the tournament by teeing up the first shots. Palmer, however, will not actually swing a club this year because of a shoulder injury, but he is still expected to participate in the annual tradition.
Last month, Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Billy Payne made it clear that despite Palmer’s decision not to hit a ball, he is still very much welcome to participate.
“We certainly understand his decision. It makes no difference whether he actually hits a drive. He is a true legend in golf and will be welcomed as usual on the first tee with the other Masters Honorary Starters. It will be a great day,” Payne said.
The first competing players in the tournament will tee off at 8:20 a.m. The pairing includes Jim Herman and Steven Bowditch.