Armchair fan’s quick guide to The Masters at Augusta National

Augusta National, designed by Yorkshireman Alister MacKenzie, has become one of sport’s most iconic venues.

Pa Sport Staff
Thursday 11 April 2024 10:51 BST
(Getty Images)

The Masters kicks off golf’s major calendar this week, with the world’s best players descending on Augusta National.

Here we provide an armchair fan’s guide of what to look out for in Georgia and here are the latest odds and tips.

Why is the Masters a big deal?

The Masters is the first of golf’s four Majors each year and the only one which is always played at the same venue. Augusta National, designed by Yorkshireman Alister MacKenzie, has become one of sport’s most iconic venues thanks to its combination of stunning scenery and a course which ensures drama throughout. Here’s how and where you can watch it.

When is the Masters?

The action starts on Thursday when, weather permitting, Erik van Rooyen will hit the opening tee shot at 0800 local time (1300BST). The final group of Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa and Tommy Fleetwood will get under way six hours later. Rory McIlroy will have pre-tournament favourite Scottie Scheffler for company when he begins his 10th bid to complete the career grand slam. McIlroy, who finished second behind Scheffler in the 2022 Masters, will play alongside the world number one and Xander Schauffele for the first two days, teeing off at 1042 local time (1542BST) on Thursday.

Are LIV players involved?

Yes. Golf has been divided since the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV competition began luring several of the sport’s biggest stars with lucrative offers two years ago. Last year 18 LIV players were in the field, although that number has reduced to 13 in 2024 – among them last year’s champion Jon Rahm. Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel and Bubba Watson also have lifetime exemptions as past winners, Joaquin Niemann received an invite, while Bryson DeChambeau, Tyrrell Hatton, Brooks Koepka, Adrian Meronk and Cameron Smith all fall into at least one of the exemption categories.

Jargon Busting

The Masters has several unique features worth looking out for. Previous winners gather for a Champions Dinner on the Tuesday of Masters week, with the menu chosen by the defending champion – this year tapas and Basque ribeye steak were among the dishes served by Rahm. The winner receives a green jacket, which is presented in the Butler Cabin away from the patrons – which is the term used for spectators at Augusta. Players will be keen to keep their ball out of Rae’s Creek, which winds through the course at Amen Corner – the nickname given to the 11th, 12th and 13th holes and a crucial stretch where Masters dreams can be made or unravel at an alarming rate.

Players to look out for

Scheffler is the strongest favourite for a major since Tiger Woods was in his prime after following victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational with becoming the first player to win back-to-back Players Championship titles. Rahm will be attempting to join Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo in winning back-to-back Masters titles. Plenty of attention will be on Woods, 48, who has played fewer than five-and-a-half competitive rounds since undergoing ankle surgery in April last year after withdrawing from the Masters during the third round. The Masters remains the only hurdle to overcome in McIlroy’s attempt to achieve a career grand slam.

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