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Masters begins with ceremonial tee shots by Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player

Honorary starter Gary Player tees off to begin

Honorary starter Gary Player tees off to begin Round 1 of the 80th Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2016, in Augusta, Georgia. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Nicholas Kamm

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The Masters is underway after a pair of ceremonial tee shots from Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.

Eighty-six-year-old Arnold Palmer watched from a chair at the first tee, deciding not to take a swing this year because of health issues. So it was left to Nicklaus and Player to hit the shots that traditionally begin the first major championship of the year.

Fifteen minutes after the ceremony, the tournament began for real with Jim Herman and Steven Bowditch going off in the first group on a sunny, brisk morning at Augusta National, the course dampened by overnight thunderstorms.

Herman made a birdie on the first hole to put his name atop the leaderboard, sure quite a thrill for the 38-year-old journeyman playing in his first Masters. He was the last player to qualify for the tournament, getting in with his victory last weekend at Houston.

New York Sports