AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The Latest on The Masters (all times local):
As Tiger Woods’ tee time at the Masters looms, Jose Maria Olazabal has made the first birdie of this year’s tournament.
Olazabal is a two-time Masters champion and is playing the tournament for the 33rd time. His approach on the par-4 opening hole settled along the right side of the green and he rolled in the putt.
Olazabal was playing in the first group of the day, going off at 8:30 a.m.
Woods begins his round at 11:04 a.m.
Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and newcomer Tom Watson have played their ceremonial tee shots and opened this year’s Masters.
And they brought a bit of humor to the proceedings.
Player, the three-time Masters champion who has long been an advocate of physical fitness, was first to play. And Watson, part of the ceremony for the first time, couldn’t resist having a little fun with Player as he headed to the tee.
“Is he going to do a push-up?” Watson asked.
Player responded: “I did while you were asleep this morning.”
Nicklaus, the six-time champion, was next to play, quipping that he would be surprised if he could put the tee in the ground without falling over. “Yes! It was successful,” he said, drawing more laughter.
And then the stage was set for Watson, who won the first of his two green jackets 45 years ago. He tipped his cap when his introduction from Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley was complete, then asked if he could say a few words.
“I would like to say how honored I am to be with Gary and Jack,” Watson said. “I’ve watched this ceremony many times in the past … and to be a part of this thing, I’m truly humbled.”
Watson is now the 11th person to have served as an honorary starter at the Masters. After he swung away, he joined Nicklaus and Player for an embrace.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the 86th Masters Tournament is officially underway,” Ridley said. “Enjoy the tournament.”
The start of the Masters has been delayed a bit because of overnight rain.
Everything was pushed back 30 minutes because of the storms, which followed daytime deluges on Tuesday and Wednesday as well.
Tiger Woods is scheduled to tee off at 11:04 a.m. Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama will be on the first tee at 11:15 a.m.
Forecasters say there isn’t a great chance of more rain on Thursday at Augusta National, though strong wind is expected to greet the afternoon wave of players. Cooling is expected over the rest of the week, with low temperatures Saturday night falling into the upper 30s — unseasonably chilly for Augusta this time of year.
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