Masters 2012: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player get it going; would you like to see Tiger Woods win?


View Photo Gallery: It wouldn’t be the Masters without Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus (along with Gary Player) making ceremonial tee shots.

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The Masters is underway at Augusta National, with honorary starters Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player hitting their ceremonial tee shots Thursday morning.

Charl Schwartzel may be the defending champion, but all eyes will be on Tiger Woods, the four-time Masters winner who has a 10:35 a.m. tee time and is coming off his first PGA victory in 30 months. Rory McIlroy, the 2011 U.S. Open champion who had a spectacular meltdown at Augusta last year, is set to go off at 1:42 p.m.

Woods is playing in a group that includes Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sang-Moon Bae. Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy have afternoon tee times, with Mickelson going at 1:53 and McIlroy at 1:42.

Thursday’s par-3 contest was scrubbed because of rain and there’s more of that in the forecast, which portends a “birdie-fest,” Mickelson says.

“It seems that some of the planning I have made may go by the wayside,” Mickelson said Tuesday. “As soft as the golf course is, you can fire at a lot of the pins. ... Unless something changes, it's going to be a ‘birdie-fest.’ ”

We’ll have updates through the day; Barry Svrluga will have a 1 p.m. update from Augusta.

Follow us: @CindyBoren | @MattBrooksWP

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After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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