Tom Watson to Join Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player as Honorary Starters at 2022 Masters

Erin WalshJanuary 11, 2022

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 18: Tom Watson warms up on the range during the PGA TOUR Champions first round of the PNC Championship at Ritz-Carlton Golf Club on December 18, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)
Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

Tom Watson will join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as an honorary starter at the 2022 Masters at Augusta National, it was announced Tuesday. 

"I am honored that Tom has accepted our invitation," Masters chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement, per ESPN. "I look forward to commemorating his love for the game and impact on the Masters with his millions of fans across the globe as he hits a tee shot alongside two of the tournament's other all-time greats, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player."

Watson is a two-time Masters champion (1977, 1981) and an eight-time major winner. He played in 42 straight Masters from 1975-2016 and finished in the top 10 on 15 separate occasions. 

The Masters has had honorary starters since 1963, and some of golf's best have served in the role, including Arnold Palmer, Lee Elder and Byron Nelson. Nicklaus, Player and Elder served as the honorary starters last year. 

"Augusta National in April is one of my favorite places to be," Watson said in a statement. "With the many fond memories of both watching the Masters as a youngster and then competing in the tournament for so many years, I am greatly honored to join my friends and fellow competitors, Jack and Gary, as an honorary starter in this upcoming Masters.

"In both of my victories, Jack was on my heels. And when Gary won his third tournament in 1978, I was there to help him put on the green jacket. Moments like those stand out in my career."

In addition to his two Masters championships, he won a U.S. Open title at Pebble Beach in 1982 and several Open Championships (1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983). He also played on four Ryder Cup teams and was named the PGA Player of the Year six times, including four straight from 1977-1980. 

The 2022 Masters runs from April 7-10. Japan's Hideki Matsuyama is the defending champion.