Welcome to our live coverage of the 86th edition of the Masters Tournament. Here’s a snippet from last year’s first-round preamble …
[Tiger’s] awful accident means he won’t be here this year; here’s to the great man rebuilding his health and completing yet another fairytale comeback. A sixth Masters in 2022? Hey, we’re allowed to dream.
Did we really believe what we were writing back then? We can’t have been serious. Was the heart ruling the head? Not sure. But here we are!
We’ll be keeping close tabs on the five-time winner this morning as he attempts a comeback for the ages that would make 2019’s comeback for the ages look like a walk in the park. We make no apologies for doing so. You’ll have to sue us. It’s just the way things have to be.
Other players are available, though! The favourite going into the week is reigning US Open champion Jon Rahm, aiming to become the fourth Spaniard to pull on a jacket in Pantone 342. Justin Thomas, the one and only player in the field that’ll be getting beneficial advice from Tiger, if you believe Rahm, is not far behind in the betting. A second major is long overdue for the 2017 PGA champ.
Cameron Smith and Scottie Scheffler are the hottest properties on the PGA Tour this season. Smith has a sensational record at Augusta – three top-ten finishes in five starts, including a tie for second a couple of Novembers ago. Scheffler has yet to make a mark here, but he is the new world number one, so there’s that. Sam Burns is another man in form, though he’s never played here before, and nobody has won here on debut since the club dropped their insistence on everyone using local caddies. You gotta know where to miss, see, as Bernhard Langer told Bryson DeChambeau the other year.
The 2020 champ Dustin Johnson is coming back into form. Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa could be dangerous if either get their erratic putters going; ditto Viktor Hovland with that wedge of his. Brooks Koepka usually shows in the majors; Jordan Spieth always shows at Augusta. Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay and Will Zalatoris have all had near misses here, and are good to come again.
And of course there’s the reigning champion Hideki Matsuyama, bidding to become the first player since Tiger in 2002 to successfully defend his title. We could go on for some time – Bryson! Bubba!! Sergio!!! – but what would be the point? There aren’t too many no-hopers in this field. So make yourself a pimento cheese sandwich, pour a long cool glass of iced tea, pine for the legendary Georgia Peach Ice Cream Sandwich (missing this year due to supply-chain issues) and settle down. We’ll get going here at 3pm BST, which translates as 10am in Georgia. Until then, here are the tee times. Peruse and select your winner (times BST, USA unless stated, -a- denotes amateurs) …
13.00 Jose Maria Olazabal (Spa), JJ Spaun
13.11 Austin Greaser -a-, Padraig Harrington (Irl), Mike Weir (Can)
13.22 Larry Mize, Francesco Molinari (Ita), Sepp Straka (Aut)
13.33 Fred Couples, Garrick Higgo (Rsa), Guido Migliozzi (Ita)
13.44 Kyoung-Hoon Lee (Kor), Ryan Palmer, Vijay Singh (Fij)
13.55 Min-Woo Lee (Aus), Hudson Swafford, Cameron Young
14.06 Stewart Cink, Brian Harman, Harry Higgs
14.17 Aaron Jarvis (Cay) -a-, Zach Johnson, Si Woo Kim (Kor)
14.39 Mackenzie Hughes (Can), Luke List, Matthew Wolff
14.50 Talor Gooch, Jason Kokrak, Danny Willett (Eng)
15.01 Max Homa, Shane Lowry (Irl), Kevin Na
15.12 Daniel Berger, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng), Kevin Kisner
15.23 Paul Casey (Eng), Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith (Aus)
15.34 Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Tiger Woods
15.45 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), James Piot -a-, Justin Thomas
15.56 Tony Finau, Scottie Scheffler, Adam Scott (Aus)
16.18 Stewart Hagestad -a-, Sandy Lyle (Sco)
16.29 Cameron Champ, Lucas Glover, Erik van Rooyen (Rsa)
16.40 Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa), Cameron Davis (Aus), Bernhard Langer (Ger)
16.51 Robert MacIntyre (Sco), Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), Laird Shepherd (Eng) -a-
17.02 Takumi Kanaya (Jpn), Justin Rose (Eng), Gary Woodland
17.13 Corey Conners (Can), Russell Henley, Lee Westwood (Eng)
17.24 Lucas Herbert (Aus), Seamus Power (Irl), Patrick Reed
17.35 Tom Hoge, Keita Nakajima (Jpn) -a-, Bubba Watson
17.57 Sung Jae Im (Kor), Marc Leishman (Aus), Webb Simpson
18.08 Sergio Garcia (Spa), Thomas Pieters (Bel), Harold Varner III
18.19 Abraham Ancer (Mex), Sam Burns, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng)
18.30 Billy Horschel, Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa
18.41 Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm (Spa), Will Zalatoris
18.52 Viktor Hovland (Nor), Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth
19.03 Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng), Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy (NIrl)
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