• Masters to honor Lee Elder

    Lee Elder
    Lee Elder

    Lee Elder, who competed as the very first black player at the Masters 45 years ago, will play as an honorary starter at Augusta National this week.

    Elder’s situation sparked a lot controversy back in 1795 when he became the first black golfer to be invited to the prestigious event.

    And now, at the age of 86, he will join the exclusive three-ball of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player to hit the first tee shot of the 2020 Masters on Thursday.

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    Augusta chairman Fred Ridley also confirmed that the golf club will present two golf scholarships to a nearby black school as well as funding for a women’s golf programme at the same school.

    ‘It was heartwarming,’ Elder told ESPN in an interview on Monday.

    ‘It was a special moment for me. This will allow me to be a part of something much more than just hitting a ball off the first tee. This means the world to me.’

    Subsequently, it will be the first time that a different player joins the honorary starter group after Arnold Palmer’s passing in 2016.

    Nicklaus and Player competed as lone starters between 2017 and 2019 but will welcome Elder in another iconic Masters moment.

    ‘The courage and commitment of Lee Elder and other trailblazers like him inspired men and women of colour to pursue their rightful opportunity to compete and follow their dreams,’ Ridley added in the official announcement.

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    ‘We believe the time to do more is now. And Lee has graciously agreed to join our efforts as the namesake of the Lee Elder Scholarship.’

    All the action from Georgia will be live on SuperSport Golf (213) with the early coverage starting at 2:30pm.

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