Devil Ball Golf

The 2012 Masters begins with Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player … and Phil Mickelson

Jay Busbee
Devil Ball Golf

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The masters of the game at the Masters. (Getty Images)

And we're underway!

The 2012 Masters began as all these events do, with a ceremonial tee shot by three of the game's legendary icons: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. All three players striped their shots down the fairway. USA Today estimated that Arnie went 210 right down the middle, Player topped him with a similar fairway strike of 250 yards, and Jack drifted a bit left but still managed 230. Not bad for any weekend hacker, much less three guys topping 70.

[Related: Dog eats four Masters tickets right before man leaves for Augusta]

It's a bittersweet reminder of the passage of time; it's great to see all three players, but they'd much rather be teeing it up for real. "If I could still do it, I'd be doing it," Palmer said.

And in a preview of what we'll have to look forward to at the 2042 Masters, check out who showed up at the first tee:

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The convergence of the Green Jackets. (Getty Images)

Yep, none other than Phil Mickelson, green jacket and all. Even though his tee time wasn't scheduled for six hours, he made the trip to the course to be present at the event's start. "This is just one of the best things to watch," Mickelson said. "No way I was going to miss this." Classy move.

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