It was a bright morning in Augusta as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player made their way to the first tee. The sun had not long appeared and the bustle of patrons was gradually building.
Palmer took a fall and dislocated his shoulder in December last year, and was uncertain as to whether he would play the ceremonial tee shot off the first. He missed out the annual Par 3 competition on Wednesday, apparently saving himself for the opening day of the main competition.
When the Big Three were at the tee box, the crowd surrounding them was 20 deep. This reception has not been greater since the three were together there in 2012.
Rickie Fowler’s tee time was not scheduled until five hours later, but he was there nonetheless, alongside Bubba Watson and Keegan Bradley, to watch Nicklaus, Palmer and Player play their shots. Larry Mize and Johnny Miller also made an early appearance.
“I can tell you that as a competitor that’s played in it a lot of times, I appreciated it very much indeed,” said Player. “It shows that they have respect for the game. I remember when Jock Hutchison used to tee off here, I used to go watch him, always.”
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