81st Masters begins with emotional start

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AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 06: Honorary starter Jack Nicklaus holds up his hat in honor of Arnold Palmer during the first tee ceremony prior to the first round of the 2017 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 6, 2017 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

AUGUSTA, Georgia (AP) – With a moment of silence, a few tears and two tee shots, the 81st Masters has begun.

It was the first Masters without four-time champion Arnold Palmer, who died in September. Augusta National chairman Billy Payne told thousands crammed around the first tee that the unbearable sadness was surpassed by the love and affection everyone feels from The King.

He asked for a moment of silence, and then turned it over to Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player to hit the ceremonial opening tee shot.
A day after storms, the sky was clear and the wind already was rattling the trees.

Among those watching were Butch Harmon and his son, Claude Harmon III, who coach Dustin Johnson. They still did not know if the No. 1 player would recover from his fall on a staircase to tee off later in the afternoon.

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