Masters 2020: The Masters opening tee shot ceremony, even without patrons, still had all the feels

November 12, 2020

JD Cuban

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Someone dropped Augusta National into an Iowa cornfield Thursday morning.

With a fog rolling up from Rae’s Creek and a soft mist blanketing the property, the first tee felt like the farm in “Field of Dreams.” And like the seminal baseball film, legends of yesterday walked onto the grass, coming not from stalks but a big oak serving as their time vessel.

Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player strolled through a small gathering of Augusta National members, media, players, family and friends to the first tee to act as Honorary Starters for the Masters. The men, with nine Masters between them, did their duty, striking their shots to officially start this tournament unlike any other. The thickening fog made their trajectories tough to decipher. Where they landed is besides the point.

Because, no, it wasn’t the same, not with patrons at home instead of hugging the first hole’s ropes. But in a year when so many traditions have been stopped or postponed or taken away completely, this ceremony, albeit simplified, happened. And that alone is worth celebrating.

And Nicklaus, with wife Barbara as his caddie, and Player shared that sentiment, reveling in the moment that was shared by those that surrounded them, delivering a scene that exemplifies why this tournament means so much to so many.