One of the most exciting events on the golfing calendar has finally arrived. It’s Masters week. Here’s everything you need to know about an unprecedented edition of the Masters Tournament, including course information, players to watch and TV times.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Tiger Woods claimed his fifth green jacket and 15th major championship title at Augusta National last year, reaching 13-under-par 275 to defeat his American compatriots Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele by one shot.
COURSE: Augusta National Golf Club opened in 1933 and was designed by legendary duo Dr Alister MacKenzie and Bobby Jones. The 6,835-metre par-72 should play significantly longer than it does during the Masters’ traditional April timeslot. This is because the playing surfaces will be softened by greater amounts of rain and there will be cooler, northerly winds. Rye overseed was also introduced and the dormant Bermuda grass was shaved back. Amen Corner – holes 11, 12 and 13 – is one of the most dramatic stretches in world golf, especially during Sunday’s final round.
PLAYERS TO WATCH …
Five-time Masters champion Tiger Woods clearly has an affinity for Augusta National and the Masters, making 21 of 22 cuts and registering an incredible 12 top-five finishes.
The 44-year-old hasn’t had an ideal preparation prior to this year’s tournament, however, playing just six times and failing to finish any higher than T37th since the world’s Tours returned from their coronavirus-enforced shutdowns.
Woods has also mentioned that he will miss the roars of the patrons this week, so there is plenty to suggest he will struggle to go back-to-back. But – as always – write him off at your peril.
Former World No.1 Justin Thomas will make his fifth appearance at Augusta National and has improved on every visit, recording shares of 39th, 22nd, 17th and 12th.
The 27-year-old American – who won his maiden major title at the US PGA Championship three years ago – is in terrific form, too, winning the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational and banking three runner-up finishes since the PGA Tour resumed in June.
Thomas is one of the best players on Tour from tee-to-green and is currently ranked 18th in that regard, while his putting and short game is ranked 33rd and 20th respectively.
RIGHT: Woods won his fifth Masters title at Augusta National last year. PHOTO: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.
Plenty of eyes will be on the beefed-up Bryson DeChambeau this week. How will he attack one of the most iconic courses on the planet?
The Californian has already stated that he plans to take some “unique lines” off the tee and has been hitting pitching wedges into par-5s during practice rounds this week.
But something that’s not often discussed – and is often overshadowed by his power – is DeChambeau’s solid short game, which is an area of the game that is, of course, crucial for success around Augusta.
The 27-year-old, who leads the Tour for strokes gained off the tee, is ranked 15th for his touch around the greens and a respectable 59th for strokes gained putting.
Adam Scott, Australia’s first Masters champion, showed plenty in Houston last week to suggest his game is in a good place to contend at Augusta once again.
The Queenslander, who donned the green jacket in 2013, has made 16 of 18 cuts at the Masters and collected five top-10s since making his first appearance back in 2002.
Scott, 40, has changed his driver and ball this week in an effort to keep up with the power hitters of the field.
Despite missing some much-needed action in the build up to this week’s event due to his positive COVID-19 test, Scott is feeling good about his chances, telling AAP: "I am very confident that I have everything in place to win.”
72-HOLE RECORD: Defending champion Tiger Woods reached 18-under-par 270 when he won his fist green jacket in 1997. His fellow American Jordan Spieth equaled that record when he claimed his first major victory in 2015.
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: Adam Scott (2013).
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Lukas Michel (a), Adam Scott and Cameron Smith.
Round 1: Friday (9Gem/Fox Sports 503 LIVE 5am – 9:30am)
Round 2: Saturday (9Gem/Fox Sports 503 LIVE 5am – 9:30am)
Round 3: Sunday (9Gem/Fox Sports 503 LIVE 5am – 9am)
Round 4: Monday (9Gem/Fox Sports 503 LIVE 2am – 7am)
*AEDT, check local guides