April 1 2016 – Tiger Woods announced today that he would be replacing Arnold Palmer in the traditional opening tee shot ceremony at the 2016 Masters Tournament. Palmer, 86, has been suffering from a lingering shoulder injury and earlier in March announced that he would not be able to participate in the opening tee shot.
Four-time Masters champion Woods, 40, has been battling injury as well and is recovering from another back surgery.
“I have concluded I’m not at a physical or mental state to compete in the Masters Tournament at this time. By taking part in the opening tee shot ceremony Thursday morning I will be able to participate and contribute to the event. I’m looking forward to seeing if I can out-drive Gary (Player).” ~Tiger Woods
Woods will join six time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus and three time champion Gary Player as part of the modified “Big Three.”
“I look forward to hearing the announcement, ‘fore please, Tiger Woods now driving.’ That said, I don’t plan on permanently relinquishing myself to a ceremonial starter and hope to return and compete for another green jacket in 2017.” ~Tiger Woods
The ceremonial tee shot takes place Thursday morning at 8:00am eastern time on the first tee of Augusta National Golf Club.