The Oldest Master hits ceremonial tee shot at East Lake

As a general rule, it's a good idea to make yourself available when a 97-year-old man and a microphone come together.Ball_600x444

This morning at East Lake, that man was Errie Ball, the only living man who competed in the first-ever Masters in 1934.
Ball wielded hickory-shafted sticks in that event, finishing tied for 38th out of 72 competitors. Back then it was called the Augusta National Invitation Tournament, and Ball remembers the event as casual – yet festive.
"It was a small invitational tournament, and there was quite a bit of drinking going on," he said, bringing the house down. "I wish I would've had a drink before that final round." (He shot 74-75-74-86.)
Ball is whip-smart, and still regularly hits the links. He said Bobby Jones was the best golfer of his era, and Tiger Woods is the best ever. He capped his morning by hitting the ceremonial opening tee shot – wielding a graphite-shafted driver, but no golf glove -- and ripped it about 150 yards, right down the middle. A 97, his swing is still much better than mine. Figures.
Play is under way at the Tour Championship. More from East Lake coming soon. (Photo: John Amis/AP)

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