5 months out from the last Masters golfers tee off on day 1 at Augusta National

5 months out from the last Masters golfers tee off on day 1 at Augusta National

The 2021 Masters is being played less than five months from the previous major held in November and the course is playing tougher than it did last — at least in the early going

The 85th Masters started with two honorary tee shots and one former player who only had to raise his driver to make it memorable.

Lee Elder was invited to take part in the ceremonial start. The 86-year-old Elder was the first Black golfer to compete in the Masters in 1975. Augusta National announced in November he would be joining six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus and three-time champion Gary Player.

Honorary starter Lee Elder waves as he arrives to the opening ceremony during the first round.

Honorary starter Lee Elder waves as he arrives to the opening ceremony during the first round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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Elder’s health wouldn’t allow him to take a swing. Instead, he raised his driver on a cool morning that was warmed by enormous applause from spectators that lined both sides of the tee box.

Masters Chairman Fred Ridley said Elder’s has blazed a trail that inspired golf and future generations with a message that golf belongs to everyone.

Among those on the tee were Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson wearing green jackets as past champions, and Cameron Champ, one of four players of Black heritage on the PGA Tour.

The tournament began a short time later. Defending champion Dustin Johnson tees off at 10:30 a.m., while Jordan Spieth is in the last group.

AUGUSTA, GEORGI

Honorary starter and Masters champion Gary Player of South Africa kisses the hand of Bubba Watson before playing the opening tee shot. At left is Jack Nicklaus greeting Phil Mickelson.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Honorary starters Lee Elder greets Jack Nicklaus on the first tee during the opening ceremony.

Honorary starters Lee Elder greets Jack Nicklaus on the first tee during the opening ceremony.

( Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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The names of the honorary are posted prior to the opening ceremony.

The names of the honorary are posted prior to the opening ceremony.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Honorary starter and Masters champion Gary Player of South Africa waves to the crowd as he is acknowledged by  Jack Nicklaus.

Honorary starter and Masters champion Gary Player of South Africa waves to the crowd as he is acknowledged by Jack Nicklaus.

(Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Honorary starter and Masters champion Jack Nicklaus plays his opening tee shot.

Honorary starter and Masters champion Jack Nicklaus plays his opening tee shot on the first tee during the opening ceremony of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Honorary starter and Masters champion Gary Player of South Africa plays his opening tee shot on the first tee.

Honorary starter and Masters champion Gary Player of South Africa plays his opening tee shot on the first tee during the opening ceremony.

(Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA

Michael Thompson and Hudson Swafford walk to the first fairway during the first round of the Masters.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts to his shot from the third tee during the first round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Viktor Hovland of Norway plays a shot on the first hole during the first round of the Masters.

Viktor Hovland of Norway plays a shot on the first hole during the first round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 08, 2021 in Augusta, Georgia.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Joaquin Niemann of Chile looks for a ball on the tenth hole during the first round of the Masters.

Joaquin Niemann of Chile looks for a ball on the tenth hole during the first round of the Masters.

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Ian Woosnam of Wales plays a shot on the second hole during the first round of the Masters.

Ian Woosnam of Wales plays a shot on the second hole during the first round of the Masters.

(Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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