Masters 2014: Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer get the action underway at Augusta

The honorary starters got proceedings underway with tee shots on the first hole

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The Independent Online

Jack Nicklaus was able to claim bragging rights after joining Gary Player and Arnold Palmer in getting the 78th US Masters under way on Thursday.

The trio formerly known as golf's 'Big Three' - they have 13 Masters titles between them - continued their role as honorary starters by each hitting a tee shot on the par-four first hole.

And it was six-time champion Nicklaus, 74, who produced the longest drive by around two feet from 78-year-old fitness fanatic Player, with both men splitting the fairway on a hole ranked the second hardest on the course last year.

Palmer, who will undergo back surgery after the Masters, had also found the fairway with his drive, although the 84-year-old's effort was comfortably the shortest of the three.

With that the trio retired to the clubhouse and allowed the tournament proper to begin, with conditions perfect for the early starters.


The first birdie of the day came from Wales' Ian Woosnam, the 1991 champion two-putting from long range after finding the green in two on the par-five second.

That was followed moments later by former Open champion Stewart Cink making a birdie on the third, Cink and South African Tim Clark making up a two-man first group due to the odd number of players in the field.