“I am honoured that Tom has accepted our invitation,” said Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club.
“I look forward to commemorating his love for the game and impact on the Masters with his millions of fans across the globe as he hits a tee shot alongside two of the tournament’s other all-time greats, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.”
Watson won the 1977 and 1981 Masters and finished runner-up three times in his 15 top-10 showings at Augusta National.
He is one of just 17 players to win multiple Masters and his 72.74 scoring average ranks fifth in tournament history.
After competing as an amateur in 1970, the Kansas man made 42 consecutive starts in the season’s opening major from 1975-2016 - the fifth-longest streak in the event’s history.
“Augusta National in April is one of my favorite places to be,” said Watson said. “With the many fond memories of both watching the Masters as a youngster and then competing in the Tournament for so many years, I am greatly honored to join my friends and fellow competitors, Jack and Gary, as an Honorary Starter.
“In both of my victories, Jack was on my heels. And, when Gary won his third tournament in 1978, I was there to help him put on the Green Jacket.
“Moments like those stand out in my career, and the opportunity to share the Honorary Starter tradition with Jack, Gary and the Masters patrons will be very special.”