AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus hit the first ceremonial tee shots of the 74th Masters Tournament Thursday morning, but Australia's Nathan Green had the honor of hitting the first shot that counted when he teed off at 7:50 a.m. EDT.
"It was good, but it was definitely nerve-wracking," said Green 34, who also happened to be hitting his first shot ever in the Masters. "My first hit in the Masters right behind those guys, the crowd was still pretty big around there. I managed to get it down the left hand side, didn't have much on it, but didn't want to embarrass myself in front of that crowd."
Green and Heath Slocum each shot even par in the first group, while Louis Oosthuizen, the Par-3 Tournament winner, got it to 2 under before posting a 3-over 75. It might have turned out to be an advantage going out early -- and finishing early; they were in the clubhouse at 12:05 -- not only to avoid the circus of the Tiger Woods season debut at 1:42 p.m., but also to have a chance to play 6-7 holes before clouds and freshening winds struck the course, making the dry Augusta National GC layout even more hard and firm.
"Just at the end there it was a decent wind," Green said. "The conditions were fairly friendly for us most of the day."
-- Dave Shedloski