Sports

Masters begins with ceremonial tee shows by Nicklaus, Player

  • From left, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player pose during the ceremonial first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

    From left, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player pose during the ceremonial first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)  (The Associated Press)

  • From left, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player pose during the ceremonial first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

    From left, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player pose during the ceremonial first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)  (The Associated Press)

  • Jack Nicklaus hits a ceremonial first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

    Jack Nicklaus hits a ceremonial first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)  (The Associated Press)

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.