Jack Nicklaus hits opening drive at Masters

Twenty-five years after his inspiring Masters win at the ripe age of 46, Jack Nicklaus struck another blow for aging golfers today by ripping a drive up the fairway to start the 2011 championship.

The solid ceremonial hit by the 71-year-old Golden Bear, who outdrove fellow honouree Arnold Palmer, 81, by 60 yards, brought whoops of delight from fans at the first tee.



"It's still kind of fun to whop it off the first tee and be part of a great event," Nicklaus told reporters in front of Augusta National's stately white clubhouse.



"I'd like to go back to some time when I could play," he said about the anniversary. "Twenty-five years later, I'm not playing very much and I'm not playing very well. You stand on the first tee and say, 'hey, I used to be here.'"



Nicklaus, whose 1986 triumph extended his Masters record to six green jackets and took his all-time leading haul of major titles to 18, said he had not lost his competitive fire.



"I hope not, that's what keeps you alive. At least I hit the ball on the face. That was pretty good," he said, quickly adding that one shot was enough for him on tournament day.



"I was quite happy to take my glove off after that tee shot."



Nicklaus, who last played the championship in 2005 for his 45th Masters, was participating in the ceremonial start for the second time.



"I enjoy it a lot. I'm having a good time with it," he said. "People enjoy it."



Nicklaus offered a long list of players that could contend for the title this week at the 75th Masters.



"You've always got Phil (Mickelson) and Tiger (Woods) that will be playing well. Nick Watney is playing very well. (Lee) Westwood has played a lot of great majors and hasn't quite pushed one over the top.



"(Martin) Kaymer is your world's number one, you never count him out. You've got (Rory) McIlroy and you've got Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson who has been playing well.



"Then you've got Luke Donald who you wouldn't normally put on that list because of his length, but he has been playing so well you've got to throw him in, and he's going to have good weather for him. It will be fast and he'll be able to play it.



"It's a pretty wide open tournament."



Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'