Longtime Masters Starter Dies

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AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Phil Harison, who introduced everyone from Ben Hogan to Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods during his 60 years as the starter on the first tee of the Masters, has died. He was 82.
 
He died Sunday of natural causes, Augusta National Golf Club said.
 
Harison was one of two people to attend every Masters since it began in 1934, and he became a familiar voice to the many fans who grew accustomed to his Southern drawl and understated manner of announcing each player.
 
Fore please, Jack Nicklaus now driving, he would say.
 
Harison recovered from a car accident that badly injured his back to serve as the starter one last time in 2007, mustering enough strength to announce only the first couple of groups.
 
We are deeply saddened by the loss of Phil Harison, Masters chairman Billy Payne said Monday. Phil was a cherished member who made significant contributions to the Masters. As the starter on the first tee, he was the face of the Masters to many patrons. He did a wonderful job in that role.
 
Harison grew up in a house that was beyond the first green at Augusta National and has since been torn down. He joined his father and brother as a member when he was 21, and was a good golfer.
 
According to Golf Digest, he made a hole-in-one in separate rounds with Nicklaus and President Eisenhower, and he played several times with Bobby Jones, even as a teenager.
 
I kept making putts from here across the room, Harison told Golf Digest last spring. I wasnt nervous'I was enjoying the day so much. Toward the end, Mr. Jones said, You have a good round going. Im proud of you. After that, I didnt finish so well. Shot 75.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 2008 Masters Tournament