Los Angeles Times

It's about respect: Lee Elder joins ceremonial tee shot to open Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. — He marched on Washington for the "I Have a Dream" speech. He once searched in vain for his golf ball in Memphis after a spectator absconded with it. He strode briskly down the middle of a Florida fairway with an armed guard next to him and death threats rattling in his head.

Lee Elder will take part in a different walk Thursday. With dawn breaking and the sun peeking over the Georgia pines, he will step onto the first tee at Augusta National and — along with legendary golfers Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player — hit one of the ceremonial drives to open the most prestigious tournament in golf.

"I'm surely going to be nervous, there's no doubt about that," said Elder, 86, who broke the color barrier in 1975, becoming the first Black golfer to play in the Masters. "If someone says they're not going to be nervous in the presence of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, with all these people watching, you have to be. I just want to make sure that first shot of mine goes straight."

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