Lee Elder, Masters’ first black player, to hit ceremonial tee shot in 2021

The 86-year-old broke the colour barrier at Augusta National in 1975

Lee Elder, the first black man to compete in the Masters Tournament in 1975, poses on the first tee during the first practice round of the 2020 Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club. Photo: Erik S. Lesser/EPA

Lee Elder, the first black man to compete in the Masters Tournament in 1975, poses on the first tee during the first practice round of the 2020 Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club. Photo: Erik S. Lesser/EPA

 

Lee Elder, who was the first black player to compete in the Masters, will join Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus as an honorary starter at Augusta National next year.

Elder made his Masters debut in 1975 and recorded a best finish of joint 17th in 1979 from six appearances.

The 86-year-old, who won four times on the PGA Tour, said: “The opportunity to earn an invitation to the Masters and stand at that first tee was my dream, and to have it come true in 1975 remains one of the greatest highlights of my career and life.

“So to be invited back to the first tee one more time to join Jack and Gary for next year’s Masters means the world to me.”

Tiger Woods welcomed the news, tweeting: “We all belong. Such wonderful news to hear from Augusta National in celebration of Lee Elder.”

Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley also announced that the club is to establish scholarships in Elder’s name at Paine College, a historically black College and University located in Augusta, as well as entirely funding the creation of a women’s golf programme at the college.

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