Sam Snead, recovering from a mild stroke six weeks ago, participated in his 62nd successive Masters and hit a ceremonial first tee shot into the gallery - and broke a spectator’s glasses.
"At least, I got it off the ground," said Snead (89) as he was led away by his son Jack, while the spectator, who had been standing 100 yards away on the right of the first tee was receiving treatment for a cut nose by medics.
Bob Ford, Gay Brewer and Billy Casper , may be asked to take over the honorary starters role next year having been told not to compete by Augusta officials this time. Arnold Palmer could also be asked to make up a veterans fourball after shooting a 17 over par 89.
Tom Watson, twice a winner in 1977 and ’81, shot his best opening round in the Masters since 1994 – one under par 71. He hasn’t made the cut for five years.
"For an old guy like me at 52, it feels good to shoot under par, especially with the new length of the course. I can still win if I can get my putting down," said Watson who took 27 putts and hit 2-iron as his approach to the final green.
John Daly was cruising along at two under the lengthened card until he blasted a 192-yard, 7-iron over the tenth green, which led to a double bogey six. Twice a major winner, the lately rejuvenated Daly made another double bogey on 14 to ended with a 74. Craig Perks, the Players champion two weeks ago, went eight-over in an eight-hole stretch on his way to an 81.
"It was a learning process," said Kiwi Perks. "At this level, you can't play poorly. I think the rain threw me off a bit. I couldn't get the speed of the greens."
Making his Masters debut Aussie Adam Scott wondered what had hit him when he went three over par inside six holes but four successive birdies to the 15th, helped him record a 71.
"I fought hard and stayed patient, and it turned into a good round," said the 21-year-old Butch Harmon pupil.
David Duval complained of soft fairways and mud on his ball as he struggled with the wet conditions to go four over par after seven holes, but the Open champion birdied 15 and 16 to keep in the hunt with a 74.
David Tomssaid a 20-minute delay on the par-3 sixth tee halted his momentum. The 2001 PGA champion was three under at the time then double bogeyed No. 9, made two bogeys and ended with a 73.
"The slow play didn't affect me mentally, just physically, " he said.
Padraig Harrington and Stuart Appleby were both warned about slow play as they left the 16th green.
Said Harrington: "The fact that we actually were in trouble on 13 and 14, and we had been waiting all day, we were just surprised we were on the clock."
Appleby was given a two-shot penalty on 13, when videotape recordings revealed he had touched the water, addressing his ball with one shoe off in Rae's Creek. He put down an eight on his card before signing it.
Spectator John Green, aged 11, asked for Fuzzy Zoeller’s autograph and got more than he bargained for. Zoeller escorted him into the clubhouse for a 30-minute visit and helped him obtain 27 autographs on his Masters 2002 cap. When he left, another fan offered him $500 for his cap.
"John was standing there with his hat and Fuzzy told him to come on in there," said, his father, Lane. "He was just in heaven. He was blown away. It just shows you how nice these guys are."
Actor Jamie Farr, who played the cross-dressing Corporal Klinger in the 1970s TV sitcom ‘MASH’ was part of a large gallery following David Duval, Ernie Els and Greg Norman. This time, however, he was decked out in classic golf gear.
Chris DiMarco got brother Rick to serve as back-up caddie, when regualar bagman Pat O’Brien suffered ‘flu.
Caddies normally make a base salary of $700 a week plus a percentage depending on how well the player finishes, and DiMarco said the arrangements won’t change for his brother.
Playing in the same threeball, Bernhard Langer and Bob Estes lived up to their notoriously slow reputation. The last group off finished in five hours 30 minutes, just before dusk fell.Colin Montgomerie stalked off the course and barely looked up after his round of 75. No change, there, then.