But Jim Nantz will be on hand to say, “Hello, friends,” and the winner’s jacket remains green. Here’s what else you should know about this year’s Masters.
All times Eastern.
How can I watch the Masters on TV and streaming?
Thursday and Friday: 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Saturday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., CBS
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., CBS
Masters.com and the Masters app will stream the ESPN and CBS broadcasts. Those two options also will have featured-group coverage starting at 7:45 a.m. daily along with dedicated coverage of hole Nos. 4, 5 and 6; Amen Corner (Nos. 11, 12 and 13); and hole Nos. 15 and 16. Click here for featured-hole times. (ESPN Plus also will air the featured-hole coverage.)
Also of note: ESPN’s “College GameDay” football pregame show will air Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon from a position overlooking Ike’s Pond and the No. 9 green of Augusta National’s Par 3 course.
Who’s in the field?
Past champions, recent major champions, recent PGA Tour winners and golfers in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings as of March 15, among others, receive invitations to the tournament. Though Masters officials delayed the tournament by seven months, this year they declined to change the qualification requirements to account for this summer’s play, instead basing the invite-only field mainly on achievements from the 2019 season and early in 2020. So the field will comprise the golfers who had qualified for the Masters by the March cutoff date, with a number of golfers who have played well in the PGA Tour’s return from its coronavirus hiatus sitting things out.
On Monday, the field shrank by one when tournament organizers announced that 2017 champion Sergio Garcia will miss the tournament after testing positive for the coronavirus. Rising star Joaquin Niemann, the first Chilean to win on the PGA Tour, previously withdrew because of a positive test.
Other than Garcia, Daniel Berger is the most notable — and controversial — absence this week. He was well outside the top 50 of the rankings at the established cutoff point in March but had risen to 13th as of last week, with a post-hiatus win, three top-three finishes and a tie for 13th at the PGA Championship in August.
Other notable absences include Viktor Hovland (No. 24 in the world as of last week), Harris English (35th in the world, fourth at the U.S. Open in September, eight top-20 finishes since the restart) and Ryan Palmer (33rd in the world, four top-10 finishes since the restart).
One note about the cut: Starting this year, only the low 50 players and ties will advance to the weekend. From 2013 to 2019, anyone within 10 strokes of the leader made the cut, along with the top 50 and ties.
Will tee times be affected?
With nearly 2½ fewer hours of daily sunlight in November compared with April and the sun setting before 5:30 p.m. each day, Masters officials will have to abandon tradition this year and institute two-tee start times with morning and afternoon waves, which is the norm during the initial rounds of most PGA Tour events but nearly unheard of at Augusta (see below for Thursday’s tee times). Therefore, each golfer in the field will have to begin at least one round on the difficult 10th hole and then immediately proceed to Amen Corner.
We’re going to see a two-tee start for Sunday’s final round as well because CBS needs to wrap up its Masters coverage by the start of its 4 p.m. NFL games. Expect the first threesomes Sunday to tee off sometime around 8:40 a.m. and the final group to start sometime around 10:20.
It’s actually the second straight year of a two-tee Sunday start, as it also happened in 2019 — for the first time in history — because of thunderstorms in the forecast.
Thursday’s tee times
7 a.m. (1)
Lucas Glover, Corey Conners, C.T. Pan
Sandy Lyle, Jimmy Walker, a-Yuxin Lin
Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Jazz Janewattananond
Webb Simpson, Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama
Larry Mize, Andrew Landry, a-Lukas MIchel
Kevin Kisner, Adam Hadwin, Scottie Scheffler
Matt Kuchar, Lee Westwood, Kevin Na
Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen
Xander Schauffele, Jason Kokrak, Henrik Stenson
Patrick Reed, Paul Casey, Tony Finau
Charl Schwartzel, Jason Day, a-Abel Gallegos
Tiger Woods, Shane Lowry, a-Andy Olgetree
Vijay Singh, Lanto Griffin, Tyler Duncan
Jordan Spieth, Gary Woodland, Ian Poulter
Mike Weir, Rafael Cabrera Bello, Matt Wallace
Graeme McDowell, Si Woo Kim, Nate Lashley
Sung Kang, Erik van Rooyen
Justin Harding, Shugo Imahira, Nick Taylor
Danny Willett, Rickie Fowler, a-John Augenstein
Chez Reavie, Sebastian Munoz, Byeong Hun An
Phil Mickelson, Abraham Ancer, Bernd Wiesberger
Bubba Watson, Matthew Wolff, Tommy Fleetwood
Adam Scott, Collin Morikawa, Tyrrell Hatton
Francesco Molinari, Billy Horschel, Cameron Smith
Justin Thomas, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Brooks Koepka
Bernhard Langer, J.T. Poston, Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy
Fred Couples, Max Homa, Dylan Frittelli
Zach Johnson, Justin Rose, Cameron Champ
Jose Maria Olazabal, Andrew Putnam, a-James Sugrue
Victor Perez, Sungjae Im, Brendon Todd
How will cooler weather affect Augusta National?
Augusta’s high temperatures in mid-November average about 8 degrees cooler than they do in April, and if that’s the case this week then tee shots will not have the same distance as they would in the spring. The ball also probably won’t have the same amount of roll, as the grounds crew must apply copious amounts of water to the course for its annual autumn reseeding (and it’s seemingly going to rain plenty in Augusta this week). Plus, winds out of the north could provide an added buffer on a number of holes, particularly the par 5s.
In other words, Augusta National seems likely to play longer than it does in April. Longer hitters still will have an edge off the tee, but precision on approach will be even more crucial considering the possibly longer and trickier second shots.
The greens will maintain their usual slickness thanks to the underground SubAir system that removes excess moisture to help keep them in treacherous shape all year.
For what it’s worth, the last “cold” Masters took place in 2007, with windy conditions and temperatures in the 40s and 50s. Zach Johnson won that tournament with a score of 1-over 289, the first over-par winning score at Augusta in four decades.
The forecast for Thursday’s first round continues to look dicey, with thunderstorms and heavy rain likely throughout the morning before lessening in the afternoon. But the outlook for the rest of the weekend has brightened considerably, with mainly sunny skies, light showers Sunday morning only and temperatures in the 70s.
With little room to maneuver because of the daylight issue, any weather delays could send the tournament to a Monday finish for the sixth time in history and the first since 1983, when rain on Friday washed out the entire second round and set everything back a day.