Why the Masters first tee announcer says, "Fore please," as the player is "now driving"
CMC Masters

Why the Masters first tee announcer says, “Fore please,” as the player is “now driving”

A photo of a pin flag at the Masters Tournament
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Before a player starts a Masters round at Augusta National Golf Club, patrons and fans watching from afar hear a voice say, "Fore please, [player name here] now driving."

It's a simple six- (or seven-) word introduction. There are no superlatives, even for Masters champions. Just a quick heads up that one of the invitees is about to play some golf.

So why does the Masters first-tee announcer, Toby Wilt, say that phrase? Like so many things at the Masters and Augusta National, it's an introduction driven by tradition.

In 1948, Augusta National member Phil Harison became the lead first-tee starter, a position he would hold until he died in 2008. With his Southern drawl, Harison would say that phrase for each player. He didn't have a microphone. He didn't gesture to the patrons. He just wanted everyone around to know who was playing, and the respectful onlookers were quiet enough to hear him.

The word 'fore' in golf is meant as a word or warning to those standing nearby or ahead of where a player is in intending to hit, so it's easy to command attention. Once the applause streams down the first fairway from the tee box, every patron should be aware players are about to hit. It's simple, and it works.

So, when Toby Wilt took over the first-tee starter at the Masters Tournament, he continued the Harison tradition and delivery style. The introduction is so associated with the Masters that there's little chance future starters will change it.

The players love it. It gives them goosebumps and makes it crystal clear they're about to experience a golf course and a tournament truly unique in championship golf.

The fans love it. It's simple and is distinguished in golf.

The club clearly loves it, or they would change it.

It works for everyone.

About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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