- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Rover would like to commend Arnold Palmer for accepting the mantle yesterday as the Masters’ new Honorary Starter. The King had stated quite clearly in the past he didn’t want to show up for the Masters for Tuesday night’s Champions’ Dinner, creak his way through an event-opening ceremonial shot and then step aside for the “real” competitors.

But yesterday, the four-time Masters champion put his ego on the shelf to reinstate one of the many traditions that makes the Masters so special. When the Rover first came to the Masters as a member of the media in 1996, watching Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead and Byron Nelson tee off in this capacity was one of the highlights of his young career. Hopefully, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player will follow Palmer’s lead and provide similar memories for youngsters who never had the pleasure to see them play.

Quote of the day: “He’s probably put on 1.5 pounds.” — Tiger Woods on the difference between the Charles Howell he met in 1996 to today’s version of Augusta’s favorite son.

The 27-year-old Howell, who is built like a 2-iron, is one of the favorites to challenge this week after collecting five top-10 finishes, including a victory this season in Nissan Open.

Barker Davis

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