Having played the ceremonial opening tee shot since 1981, when he was appointed along with Gene Sarazen, Nelson has told sources he simply can not continue due to his age (89) and the anxiety which it produces.
The tradition began in 1963, when Jock Hutchinson and Fred McLeod became the first two starters in Masters' history. Sam Snead was the last to be appointed, when he joined Sarazen and Nelson in '84. Since Sarazen's death in 1999, Snead and Nelson have performed the ceremony by themselves.
No statement has been made as to who, if anyone, will replace Nelson for the 2002 edition of the tournament.
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