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December 13, 2007

Arnold Palmer follows through on his ceremonial tee shot Thursday morning at the 2007 Masters. "I waited to do this for a couple of years," said the 77-year-old four-time Masters Champion. "And I felt like this was an appropriate time. I didn't want to get up and die before I did it...Arnold Palmer follows through on his ceremonial tee shot Thursday morning at the 2007 Masters. "I waited to do this for a couple of years," said the 77-year-old four-time Masters Champion. "And I felt like this was an appropriate time. I didn't want to get up and die before I did it...

Veteran Golf Digest photographer Stephen Szurlej captures the moment. Joked Palmer of his slashing draw up the left side of the hole, ""I always said, 'if I hit it left, I was OK. If I hit it right, I was in trouble. I was just trying to stay out of the sand trap up on the right side."Veteran Golf Digest photographer Stephen Szurlej captures the moment. Joked Palmer of his slashing draw up the left side of the hole, ""I always said, 'if I hit it left, I was OK. If I hit it right, I was in trouble. I was just trying to stay out of the sand trap up on the right side."

Arnie played in 50 consecutive Masters, ending his streak in 2005. He becomes the first honorary starter since Sam Snead last served in that role in 2002. Commenting on the thousands of Masters Patrons who poured on to the course early Thursday morning in anticipation of watching Arnie in action, Palmer said, "Seeing what happened when they opened the gates was also quite a thrill, to see those people coming in. And of course, that's what's it's been about for me for a long time..."Arnie played in 50 consecutive Masters, ending his streak in 2005. He becomes the first honorary starter since Sam Snead last served in that role in 2002. Commenting on the thousands of Masters Patrons who poured on to the course early Thursday morning in anticipation of watching Arnie in action, Palmer said, "Seeing what happened when they opened the gates was also quite a thrill, to see those people coming in. And of course, that's what's it's been about for me for a long time..."

Ernie Els studies his golf ball during the opening round of the 71st Masters. The Big Easy wouldn't find many birdies in that ball, as he shot 78-76 to miss his second cut in 14 Masters.Ernie Els studies his golf ball during the opening round of the 71st Masters. The Big Easy wouldn't find many birdies in that ball, as he shot 78-76 to miss his second cut in 14 Masters.

A wide-angle view of the par-3 16th hole at Augusta National during the first round. Firm, fast conditions caused scores to soar on the hole that has been known to produce dramatic moments in the past. Just seven players birdied the hole on Thursday, against 56 pars, 29 bogeys and 4 dreaded "others."A wide-angle view of the par-3 16th hole at Augusta National during the first round. Firm, fast conditions caused scores to soar on the hole that has been known to produce dramatic moments in the past. Just seven players birdied the hole on Thursday, against 56 pars, 29 bogeys and 4 dreaded "others."

Trevor Immelman hangs his head after his chip shot on the 17th green stopped short. Immelman finished the first-round with a 74, two shots better than the field average.Trevor Immelman hangs his head after his chip shot on the 17th green stopped short. Immelman finished the first-round with a 74, two shots better than the field average.

Phil Mickelson takes the high route on his chip to the front pin on the sloping 18th green during the first round of the Masters tournament at Augusta National. The defending champion shot a 76 for the day.Phil Mickelson takes the high route on his chip to the front pin on the sloping 18th green during the first round of the Masters tournament at Augusta National. The defending champion shot a 76 for the day.

Three-time champion Gary Player, playing in his 50th Masters, hits a short approach shot during the first round. Player opened with an 83, then shot a 77. He said that par for him on the newly lengthened course was 80. "It's the longest golf course I've had to play in my life because of the hills that I'm driving into."Three-time champion Gary Player, playing in his 50th Masters, hits a short approach shot during the first round. Player opened with an 83, then shot a 77. He said that par for him on the newly lengthened course was 80. "It's the longest golf course I've had to play in my life because of the hills that I'm driving into."

Reflections on the main scoreboard at the 71st Masters.Reflections on the main scoreboard at the 71st Masters.

Sergio Garcia follows through with one hand on a tee shot during the opening round of the tournament. Garcia didn't get the start to the tournament he was looking for, as he posted an opening round of 76.Sergio Garcia follows through with one hand on a tee shot during the opening round of the tournament. Garcia didn't get the start to the tournament he was looking for, as he posted an opening round of 76.

Tiger Woods tosses his putter in frustration after just missing a putt on the ninth hole. Woods, a four-time winner of the tournament, parred the hole on his way to a one-over opening nine. He made two birdies on the back, then finished with bogeys on 17 and 18 to finish at one-over.Tiger Woods tosses his putter in frustration after just missing a putt on the ninth hole. Woods, a four-time winner of the tournament, parred the hole on his way to a one-over opening nine. He made two birdies on the back, then finished with bogeys on 17 and 18 to finish at one-over.

A bird's-eye view from the ninth hole shows how close Tiger Woods was to making his birdie putt on the ninth hole. In the background at the far left is the members' golf shop; to the right is the clubhouse.A bird's-eye view from the ninth hole shows how close Tiger Woods was to making his birdie putt on the ninth hole. In the background at the far left is the members' golf shop; to the right is the clubhouse.

Tiger Woods prepares to pick one clean from a fairway bunker, while avoiding the ball of a fellow competitor just in front of his.Tiger Woods prepares to pick one clean from a fairway bunker, while avoiding the ball of a fellow competitor just in front of his.

David Toms lets the sand fly on a bunker shot during his two-under-par 70 opening round.David Toms lets the sand fly on a bunker shot during his two-under-par 70 opening round.

Dressed to impress -- and to pay sartorial tribute to golf great Sam Snead -- England's Ian Poulter follows through on a tee shot during the first round of the 71st Masters.Dressed to impress -- and to pay sartorial tribute to golf great Sam Snead -- England's Ian Poulter follows through on a tee shot during the first round of the 71st Masters.

Former Masters champion Vijay Singh plays from the "first cut" -- Masters terminology for light rough -- during the first round. Singh shot a 73, and remained in contention through Sunday.Former Masters champion Vijay Singh plays from the "first cut" -- Masters terminology for light rough -- during the first round. Singh shot a 73, and remained in contention through Sunday.

Brett Wetterich stares down his tee shot during the first round of the tournament. The Masters rookie would go on to fire the best score of day one, a three-under, 69.Brett Wetterich stares down his tee shot during the first round of the tournament. The Masters rookie would go on to fire the best score of day one, a three-under, 69.

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