Lee Elder, the first black golfer to compete in the Masters, said playing a role in this year’s event’s honor debut “far exceeds anything that has ever happened to him” in the sport.
On Wednesday, he joined former decorated winners Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player for the ceremonial first tee shot.
“It’s something that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” Elder said.
“It was one of the most moving experiences I have ever participated in.
“Winning an invitation to the Masters and showing up for that first tee was my dream and for it to come true in 1975 remains one of the greatest highlights of my career and my life.
“Being invited back to the first tee once again to join Jack and Gary means the world to me.”
Elder, who recorded a best 17th finish in 1979 in six appearances, received the biggest standing ovation from the three retired players when he was introduced.
He was helped up and held his driver, but did not shoot. Instead, he stood up and waved to the crowd around him.
“In 1975 the strongest memory I can remember was how nervous I was going to the first tee,” Elder said.
“I had a great round that day. Every tee and every green I walked I got huge standing ovations.
Augusta National President Fred Ridley said Elder “made history again” at the Masters with “his presence, strength and character.”
“[He] has laid out a course that will inspire golf and future generations of players, ”said Ridley.
“We are delighted today to have with us a number of black golf professionals who are proud members of the PGA of America. They were no doubt inspired by Lee Elder and his message that golf belongs to everybody.”
The player was honored with the first tee shot and the South African, 60 years later, since becoming the first non-American to win the Masters, has kicked the mark high after having scrambled his training in the middle.