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Arnie Might Tee it Up -- But Not at Augusta

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The death of Sam Snead has left the Masters without an honorary starter this year, a role that eventually could be filled by Arnold Palmer.
 
Just not this year.
 
'Maybe in the future,' Palmer said Tuesday from his office at Bay Hill.
 
The Masters tradition of an honorary starter began in 1963 with Jock Hutchinson and Fred McLeod, and it has carried on except for a four-year period ending in 1980.
 
A year later, Byron Nelson and Gene Sarazen hit the ceremonial tee shot to officially start the Masters, and Snead joined them in 1984.
 
Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson recently asked Palmer, a four-time champion and club member, if he would be interested.
 
'He said he was not ready for a ceremonial position, but that he would be honored to have that role sometime in the future,' Johnson said.
 
He did not say if anyone else was asked, or if an honorary starter had to be a past champion. Ken Venturi was an honorary starter in 1983, and neither Hutchinson nor McLeod ever won a Masters.
 
'Obviously, I'd like to see Arnold Palmer be an honorary starter,' Johnson said. 'There could be others. We'll have to cross that bridge when we get to it.'
 
Palmer played his final Masters last year, and for the last several years has shown no interest in hitting one tee shot and calling it a day.
 
What might change his mind?
 
'When I'm not playing any more is probably my criteria for that, or at least not playing regular tour events,' he said. 'That may be sooner than later. At the moment, I'd just like to hold off for a little.'