The Masters officially gets under way on Thursday at 8 a.m. ET when Jose Maria Olazabal hits the opening tee shot. But for many golf fans, the year’s first major will not truly begin until just more than two hours later when Tiger Woods appears on the tee.
With COVID-19 restrictions lifted and Woods returning from a serious leg injury, fans are set to pour into Augusta National and most at some point will find their way to Woods, who partners South African Louis Oosthuizen and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann. By all accounts Woods’s game is in major shape, but the bigger question will be how well he manages four potential rounds on the undulating Augusta National layout, which is one of the more demanding tracks on the PGA Tour.
While the spotlight has been locked on Woods, 91 other golfers will tee off on Thursday with the goal of claiming the coveted Green Jacket. Following Woods’s threesome will be defending champion Hideki Matsuyama, who last year became the first Japanese man to win a major championship, Justin Thomas and amateur James Piot. The next group off will feature world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, 2013 champion Adam Scott and Tony Finau, who has three top-10 finishes in four Masters appearances. Betting favourite and world No. 2 Jon Rahm will go out in the third-to-last group along with Will Zalatoris, who last year finished runner-up on his Masters debut, and PGA Tour player of the year Patrick Cantlay.