Gary Player wants old friend as 2020 Masters honorary starter

Gary Player Swing

Three-time Masters champion Gary Player is eager to see his old friend Lee Elder feature as the honorary start at the 2020 Masters tournament.

Reported by Alan Shipnuck of, Player said: "I’m sure he’ll hit it farther than Arnold did in his last few years."

86-year-old Elder has a long history with Gary Player, with Elder accepting a personal invitation from the South African to participate in the 1971 South African PGA Championship in Johannesburg. The event marked the first integrated tournament in the country’s history throughout its struggles with apartheid.

• Scotland to stage new European Tour event

• WATCH: Jon Rahm sinks monster putt

In 1975, Elder became the first African American to play in the Masters and reported receiving substantial amounts of hate mail in the weeks leading up to the tournament. In 1979 he also became the first African American to qualify for play in the Ryder Cup.

The move to make Elder an honorary member would mark a significant milestone in the tournament’s history as it would be the first time an African American has featured as the honorary starter at the event.

Throughout his career, four-time PGA Tour winner Elder has been a major advocate of social justice. He set up the Lee Elder Scholarship Fund in 1974, developed to offer monetary aid to low-income young men and women seeking money for college.

In 1990, Elder spoke out against country clubs that still excluded African Americans from membership. Elder has actively promoted Summer Youth Golf Development Programs, raised money for the United Negro College Fund, and served on the advisory boards of Goodwill Industries.

• End of an era looms for European Tour duo

• Phil wins on Champions Tour debut

The rescheduled 2020 Masters will take place on November 9-15 without patrons or guests in attendance because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Share this Article

twitter-logo facebook-logo

Latest Videos See all videos right arrow

play button
2022 Driver Test | Which one is going in my bag?
play button
The most powerful PING irons ever? | PING i525 review
play button
I'll be using the Vokey SM9 wedges... and you should too
play button
The driver that has it all? | COBRA LTDx drivers REVIEWED!
See all videos right arrow

Golf News

Tour pro trolls Patrick Reed over LIV video
LIV players not eligible for Ryder Cup captain’s picks
World No.1 commits to Women’s Scottish Open
Dozens of players lose clubs in luggage chaos
LIV stars rip PGA Tour at fiery press conference

Other Top Stories

Tiger Woods: Inside his $41million Florida mansion
The very best pubs in St Andrews
The Scottish Golf Course Emoji Quiz!
24 lies every bad golfer tells
Doug Sanders: The extraordinary life of golf's original playboy

Quick Fault 'n' Fixes See all videos right arrow

play button
Stay on top of the golf ball
play button
Align your body at address
play button
Weaken your grip to hit a fade
play button
Shift your weight to the left side
See all videos right arrow