US Masters 2019: Tee times, TV details and weather forecast
All you need to know ahead of the first Major of the year which gets underway on Thursday
Dustin Johnson skips a ball across the water on the 16th hole as Rory McIlroy watches during a practice round ahead of the 2019 Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club. Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters
The first Major of the year and the unofficial start of the golfing season for many around the world is what’s happening. This will be the 83rd playing of the Masters at Augusta National and will see just 87 players – the same amount as last year – compete for the green jacket.
When does it start?
The tournament gets underway on Thursday, April 11th with the ceremonial tee shots which will be hit by Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. The 87 competitors will then take to the course with the competition running over Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
What are the tee times?
THURSDAY AND FRIDAY TEE-TIMES
(Second round times in brackets, US unless stated, all times Irish, * denotes amateur)
1.30pm (4.15pm): Andrew Landry, Adam Long, Corey Conners (Can)
1.41pm (4.26pm): Ian Woosnam (Wales), Keith Mitchell, Kevin Tway
1.52pm (4.37pm): Mike Weir (Can), Shane Lowry (Irl), *Kevin O’Connell
2.02pm (4.48pm): Angel Cabrera (Arg), Aaron Wise, Justin Harding (RSA)
2.14pm (4.59pm): Danny Willett (Eng), Brandt Snedeker, *Takumi Kanaya (Jpn)
2.25pm (5.10pm): Fred Couples, Si Woo Kim (S Kor), J B Holmes
2.36pm (5.32pm): Branden Grace (RSA), Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Lucas Bjerregaard (Den)
2.47pm (5.43pm): Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Charles Howell III, Eddie Pepperell (Eng)
2.58pm (5.54pm): Sergio Garcia (Esp), Tony Finau, Henrik Stenson (Swe)
3.09pm (6.05pm): Adam Scott (Australia), Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Kyle Stanley
3.31pm (6.16pm): Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, *Viktor Hovland (Nor)
3.43pm (6.27pm): Charley Hoffman, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), Marc Leishman (Aus)
3.53 pm (6.38pm): Tommy Fleetwood (Eng), Xander Schauffele, Gary Woodland
4.04pm (6.49pm): Tiger Woods, Haotong Li (Chn), Jon Rahm (Esp)
4.15pm (7.0pm): Rory McIlroy (N Irl), Rickie Fowler, Cameron Smith (Aus)
4.26pm (1.30pm): Sandy Lyle (Sco), Michael Kim, Patton Kizzire
4.37pm (1.41pm): Trevor Immelman (RSA), Martin Kaymer (Ger), *Devon Bling
4.48pm (1.52pm): Larry Mize, Jimmy Walker, Stewart Cink
4.59pm (2.03pm): Jose Maria Olazabal (Esp), Kevin Na, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den)
5.10pm (2.14pm): Bernhard Langer (Ger), Matt Wallace (Eng), *Alvaro Ortiz (Mex)
5.32pm (2.25pm): Alex Noren (Swe), Keegan Bradley, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng)
5.43pm (2.36pm): Vijay Singh (Fiji), Billy Horschel, *Jovan Rebula (RSA)
5.54pm (2.47pm): Kevin Kisner, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha), Shugo Imahira
6.05pm (2.58pm): Zach Johnson, Ian Poulter (Eng), Matt Kuchar
6.16pm (3,09pm): Francesco Molinari (Ita), Rafael Cabrera Bello (Esp), Tyrrell Hatton (Eng)
6.27pm (3.31pm): Bubba Watson, Patrick Cantlay, Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn)
6.38pm (3.42pm): Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Day (Aus)
6.49pm (3.53pm): Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose (Eng), Justin Thomas
7.0pm (4.04pm): Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey (Eng), Brooks Koepka
Who are the favourites?
Rory McIlroy comes into the tournament as the favourite to slip on a first green jacket and in doing so become just the sixth player ever to complete the career grand slam by winning all four Majors. The 29-year-old has been in stellar form so far this season with six top-six finishes already notched up, including a win at the Players Championship in March. McIlroy is as short as 13/2 in some places while Dustin Johnson (10/1) and Justin Rose (12/1) are next in the betting.
How can I follow it all?
The Masters is famous for its limited TV coverage and, although it has expanded over the years to now include the front nine, we still don’t get to watch half as much golf as you do at any other Major but that only helps to add the to the mystique. In this age of coverage saturation it’s nice to have a week where you appreciate every second you get.
Each day you can follow all of the action on our liveblogs which will get underway at 2pm on Thursday and Friday and take you through all of the day’s play.
At the weekend it will be a slightly later start as the field gets trimmed on Friday night.
In terms of TV coverage, you can follow featured groups and featured holes (Amen Corner and the 15th and 16th) on Sky Sports red button on Thursday and Friday from 2.15pm, while there will be a featured holes stream on Saturday and Sunday from 4.30pm. Full coverage then gets underway on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Golf at 7pm but no live golf can be shown until 8pm on the first three days and 7pm on Sunday.
BBC2 will show day one highlights at 7pm on Friday and day two highlights at 1.15pm on Saturday.
BBC2 also has full live coverage of the weekend, starting at 7.30pm on Saturday and 6.30pm on Sunday.
You can also listen to all four days on BBC Five Live radio, starting at 10pm on Thursday and Friday, 9pm on Saturday and 8pm on Sunday. If you’ve never listened to golf on radio you should give it a chance, it offers a different and very enjoyable perspective.
What’s the weather going to be like?
Thunderstorms on Monday shortened practice for the players while more of the same was forecast for Tuesday meaning the course took on a fair bit of moisture which could change the conditions somewhat.
However, Wednesday is due to be a clear and sunny day for the traditional Par 3 tournament. With the famous sub-air system in place at Augusta, the committee can essentially decide how hard or soft they want the greens, regardless of how much rain falls.
If the first two days prove to be tough with not a lot of birdies being made they may let nature take its course and not suck the moisture out of the greens at the weekend, leading to softer and more favourable conditions. But if the scoring is a tad too good for the men in the green jackets they can just as easily make those famous greens play just as firm and fast as they want, potentially leading to a war of attrition over the weekend.
Thursday: The opening day looks like being a pretty favourable day for scoring with no rain forecast and very little wind. There is plenty of cloud cover expected but also some sunny spells.
Friday: Rain is forecast for Friday but, at the moment, not too much of it and no thunderstorms. Again the winds are expected to be light and if some rain comes in through the morning it could soften the course up very nicely for the afternoon players.
Saturday: Another grey day with very little wind but also very little rain. Depending on how scoring is going over the first few days the tournament committee will generally decide just how gettable they want to set the course up for moving day.
Sunday: The final day could be where problems arise. Thunderstorms are forecast for the area on Sunday with an 80 per cent chance of rain and high humidity. It also looks like being the windiest day of the four although nothing too strong. However, ugly conditions could set up for an interesting final round and possibly (whisper it) the first Monday finish since 1983.
Who are the Irish competitors?
As already mentioned, Rory McIlroy will lead the Irish charge as the favourite to win the tournament and complete the career grand slam at the fifth opportunity he has had to do so.
Last year McIlroy was the lone Irish competitor in the field but this time around he is joined by Shane Lowry. The Offalyman pencilled in his fourth appearance at the tournament when he won the HSBC Abu-Dhabi Championship in January and, although his form has dipped since then, managed to do enough with a win and a draw at the WGC World Matchplay two weeks ago to maintain his place in the world’s top 50 and, by extension, his spot in the field for this week.
Lowry has only made the cut once in his previous three appearances at the tournament – in 2016 – and while he certainly hasn’t been playing as well as he was when he won in January, he does possess one of the best short game repertoires of any player which is a key aspect needed around Augusta.
Are there any changes to the course this year?
The only major change made by the committee for this year is the lengthening of the fifth hole. Already a seriously tough Par 4, it has now been lengthened to 495 yards the bunkers moved further back towards the new tees, meaning they are still right at the landing area for most players.
For more on those changes, Philip Reid has arrived at Augusta and seen it for himself.
Meanwhile, you can read a detailed hole-by-hole guide to the most famous course in the world with pictures, states and summaries here.
Added Time Masters podcast
If all of that reading wasn’t enough for you we also have our Added Time podcast from Monday with Philip Reid speaking to Malachy Clerkin from Augusta.
If you really fancy testing your wits this week and for the rest of the golfing season you can sign up to The Irish Times Fantasy Golf sponsored by Allianz. Registration closes at 11am on Thursday with a first prize of €10,000 up for grabs.