The Masters 2015 guide: Tee-off times, ones to watch and where can I watch it in the UK?
Tournament preview: Augusta National Golf Course
Bubba Watson will defend his Master title at the Augusta National Golf Course after his brilliant victory last year to clinch his second Green Jacket.
The reigning champion, who also clinched the title in 2012, will be up against it to add a third victory to his locker given the level of opposition that he will face over the course of the four days at the first Grand Slam of the year.
Here, we take a look at the 2015 edition of The Masters, who to look out for and what we can expect from one of the highlights of the golfing calendar.
WHEN DOES IT START?
Masters week gets underway on Monday 6 April, with the famed par-3 tournament taking place on Wednesday 8 April as a pre-cursor to the main event. The first day begins on Thursday 9 April, with the cut taking place at the end of the second days’ play on Friday 10 April. The winner of the Masters will be crowned on Sunday 12 April, providing there are no rain delays of lengthy play-offs that could carry proceedings into Monday.
WHAT TIME WILL IT BE ON IN THE UK?
Augusta is five hours behind British Summer Time, with the first group due to tee-off at 07:35 local time on Thursday morning. That means a 12:35 start in the United Kingdom, perfect for a spot of lunchtime entertainment.
Generally, the Masters ends around midnight each day, though this varies on the time it has taken for the players to complete their rounds and the length or any delays. However, come half-past-midnight, we should know the Masters champion for another year.
WHERE CAN I WATCH IT?
The Masters is unique in that it’s screened on the BBC and Sky Sports simultaneously.
Sky will dedicate the Sky Sports 4 coverage to The Masters this year, and live broadcasts will begin at 19:00 each night. However, due to broadcasting rules, live play will not be shown until 19:30.
The BBC will confirm their live coverage in the coming days.
WHAT IS AMEN CORNER?
The name ‘Amen Corner’ has been given to the run through holes 11, 12 and 13 and has proven to be one of the toughest challenges on the golf circuit. The name dates back to the 1958 Masters, where Arnold Palmer secured the very first major championship victory of his illustrious career after a controversial ruling surrounding an embedded ball that was allowed to be dropped without penalty. The name itself was given by former Sports Illustrated writer Herbert Warren Wind, who took inspiration from a Bluebird record named “Shoutin’ in that Amen Corner” to summarise the approach on the 11th, the entire 12th and the tee shot of the 13th – though all three holes have been included in Amen Corner as time has worn on.
WHO SHOULD I LOOK OUT FOR?
The obvious answer is the world No 1, Rory McIlroy. When the Northern Irishman is on form, he is near unstoppable, but he is yet to conquer the Augusta course and until he does so, his 2011 meltdown will remain firmly in the memory as he blew a four-shot lead heading into the final round.
The two men who have clinched the past three titles will also be there or thereabouts, as American Watson and Australian Adam Scott tend to produce their best at Augusta. Two of the home young guns are also worth looking out for in the form of Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth, the duo that linked up in Team USA’s 2014 Ryder Cup campaign and performed to the highest level.
Swede Henrik Stenson should also get himself in the mix, while the return of Dustin Johnson is sure to cause a stir after he won the WGC-Cadillac Championship in just his second tournament since returning from a six-month hiatus for undisclosed reasons.
And what about Tiger Wood? Well, what about him. The 14-time major winner and former world No 1 is rated 50-50 to return from his latest back injury in time to feature at The Masters, the tournament that he won in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005. But even if he proves his fitness, lingering doubts over his persistent injury woes and his recent poor form suggest he won't be anywhere near the frontrunners.
Tee-off times for Friday's second round (BST)
Group 1, 12:45pm: Ian Woosnam, Erik Compton
Group 2, 12:56pm: Trevor Immelman, Kevin Stadler, Scott Harvey
Group 3, 1:07pm: Ben Martin, Robert Streb, Cameron Tringale
Group 4, 1:18pm: Sandy Lyle, Seung-yul Noh, Bradley Neil
Group 5, 1:29pm: Bernhard Langer, Bernd Wiesberger, Geoff Ogilvy
Group 6, 1:40pm: Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els
Group 7, 1:51pm: Angel Cabrera, Louis Oosthuizen, Matias Dominguez
Group 8, 2:02pm: Mark O'Meara, Chris Kirk, Shane Lowry
Group 9, 2:13pm: Padraig Harrington, Ryan Palmer, Thomas Bjorn
Group 10, 2:24pm: James Hahn, Mikko Ilonen, Hunter Mahan
Group 11, 2:35pm: Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka, Graeme McDowell
Group 12, 2:57pm: Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Billy Horschel
Group 13, 3:08pm: Fred Couples, Branden Grace, Thongchai Jaidee
Group 14, 3:19pm: Luke Donald, Victor Dubuisson, John Senden
Group 15, 3:30pm: Tiger Woods, Jamie Donaldson, Jimmy Walker
Group 16, 3:41pm: Jason Day, Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler
Group 17, 3:52pm: Charley Hoffman and Brian Harman
Group 18, 4:03pm: Larry Mize, Danny Willett, Byron Meth
Group 19, 4:14pm: Tom Watson, Gary Woodland, Camilo Villegas
Group 20, 4:25pm: Mike Weir, Ben Crane, Corey Conners
Group 21, 4:36pm: Vijay Singh, Russell Henley, Darren Clarke
Group 22, 4:47pm: Jose Maria Olazabal, Brendon Todd, Kevin Na
Group 23, 5:09pm: Jonas Blixt, Kevin Streelman, Stephen Gallacher
Group 24, 5:20pm: Patrick Reed, Keegan Bradley, Ian Poulter
Group 25, 5:31pm: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Lee Westwood, Anirban Lahiri
Group 26, 5:42pm: Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Gunn Yang
Group 27, 5:53pm: Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson, Antonio Murdaca
Group 28, 6:04pm: Morgan Hoffmann, Steve Stricker, Matt Every
Group 29, 6:15pm: Ben Crenshaw, Bill Haas, Jason Dufner
Group 30, 6:26pm: Webb Simpson, Hideki Matsuyama, Paul Casey
Group 31, 6:37pm: Charl Schwartzel, Joost Luiten, Sangmoon Bae
Group 32, 6:48pm: Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Ryan Moore
Group 33, 6:59pm: J. B. Holmes, Martin Kaymer, Brandt Snedeker
Independent News Service