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Thursday, April 7, 2011 - 4:55am

Masters Tournament Underway

The Master tournament is underway in Augusta. The first group of golfers teed-off around 7:45 Thursday morning.

But official play is always preceeded by a time-honored tradition. Thousands of fans lined the opening fairway Thursday as Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus hit ceremonial tee shots to get the tournament under way.

Palmer, the 81-year-old with four green jackets, hit his shot to the base of the hill in the fairway. Then came Nicklaus, a six-time winner who turned 71 in January. He pounded his tee shot down the middle, some 30 yards past Palmer.

Nicklaus saw the morning shadows and joked that it would be difficult to hit out of their shadows. That was no problem.

Palmer first played in 1955. Nicklaus played as an amateur in 1959. That means they have been at the Masters a combined 108 years.

Concering the tournament itself for the weekend, three-time tournament winner Phil Mickelson enters as one of the favorites on the course. Should he win this weekend, Mickelson would join only three others—Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Tiger Woods -- as the only four-time Masters winners.

Mickelson begins his first-round play at 1:50 p.m. Thursday. Woods has a tee-time of 10:40 a.m.

Augusta weather-wise will get a high of 79 degrees under sunny skies Thursday. A 20 percent chance of rain moved-in for Friday, and 30 percent chance Saturday. Highs through the weekend in the low to mid 80's.


Edgar Treiguts