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Why was Johnny Miller at the opening tee shot? "You don't know how long Arnie's going to be around"

April 09, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Bubba Watson came out wearing a green jacket and green sneakers. Rickie Fowler was out holding the hand of girlfriend Alexis Randock.

But the most surprising observer for Thursday's ceremonial opening tee shot at the Masters may have been Johnny Miller, the two-time major champion turned NBC analyst who sensed his window to see history was closing.

Miller, who had three seconds in the Masters and hasn't played in the tournament since 1994, has come to Augusta each of the last four years, but had never been present for the ceremonial start. His motivation was 85-year-old Arnold Palmer, whose participation in the ceremony was questionable after a series of health troubles over the winter.

"You don't know how long Arnie's going to be around," Miller said. "I knew he's fallen a couple of times, you can see his balance isn't very good. But it was pretty gutsy for him to get up there and hit."

Ever the analyst, Miller noted Palmer's tee shot was a "low, quick hook that almost hit some people." He didn't need to break down Jack Nicklaus' swing since Nicklaus did it for him.

"He said, 'Ah, I hit it off the toe, that's why (Gary Player) outdrove me,'" Miller said of their exchange while walking off the tee. "It's strange because I'm used to these guys being competitive. In my life, that's how I knew them. But time doesn't favor anyone, does it?"