MASTERS LIVE BLOG: Updates for Saturday, April 8, 2023
Check here throughout the day for the latest updates from the course at Augusta National Golf Club
4:52 p.m.: Round 3 to resume Sunday at 8:30 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Ga. - The third round of the 2023 Masters Tournament will resume at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. CBS will air live coverage beginning at 8:30 a.m. through the conclusion of the third round. Ticket gates will open at 7 a.m., as previously scheduled.
The final round is expected to begin at 12:30 p.m. off of Nos. 1 and 10 in pairings. The live broadcast will remain 2-7 p.m. on CBS, as originally scheduled.
3:18 p.m.: Play suspended for the rest of the day
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Play has been suspended for the day after sheets of chilly rain have fallen all day to the point that water is pooling on the greens.
It’s been raining since before dawn, and it’s only going to get worse, according to forecasts.
It created a slippery mess for patrons and made golfing difficult, even with Augusta National’s high-tech system that can dry the greens.
Play was already behind schedule after being suspended Friday afternoon as dangerous weather descended on Augusta and blew down three trees on the course.
So the first part of today was spent finishing up the second round, then the third round didn’t begin until 11:30 a.m.
To speed up the round, the golfers were put in threesomes and the tees were split, with the first nine and second nine holes being played simultaneously.
Still, there will be a lot of ground to make up when play resumes, mostly likely Sunday morning, to finish the third round and jump right into the final.
The good news is Sunday’s forecast is much more promising, with temperatures expected to climb into the mid-60s as sunshine breaks through in the afternoon.
2:50 p.m.: The Masters by the numbers so far
AUGUSTA, Ga. - With Rounds 1 and 2 behind us, here’s a look at the Masters so far.
2:35 p.m.: Koepka pulling further ahead of others
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Brooks Koepka has opened a four-stroke lead over Jon Rahm and is beginning to put some distance between the rest of the field in a rain-drenched third round of the Masters.
But three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson is lurking on the fluctuating leaderboard.
Mickelson is 1 under through six holes Saturday and has moved into a tie for fifth place eight shots behind Koepka, who is 13 under. Collin Morikawa is in third place, six shots back at 7 under in third place.
Amateur Sam Bennett has fallen off the pace and is 2 over for the day, seven shots behind.
2:19 p.m.: Prize money announced for Masters winner
AUGUSTA, Ga. - The Masters says its prize money this year will be $18 million, an increase from $15 million a year ago. The winner will get $3.24 million. That’s more than the entire purse ($3.2 million) at the Masters 25 years ago.
None of the majors has matched the PGA Tour’s $20 million purse for its elevated events — The Players Championship has a $25 million purse.
The next major is the PGA Championship, and PGA of America officials have been waiting to see what the Masters would do with its purse. The PGA Championship also was at $15 million last year.
The U.S. Open purse last year was $17.5 million, while the British Open purse was $14 million.
1:06 p.m.: What if an amateur wins the Masters?
AUGUSTA, Ga. - An amateur hasn’t won the Masters before, but Texas A&M’s Sam Bennett is No. 3 in the leader board and could well do it.
He tees off in a minute.
If he wins, he’d get the green jacket, trophy replica and silver bowl, but not the prize money. And he can’t suddenly decide to go pro and get the money, which instead would go to the No. 2 finisher.
12:51 p.m.: A threesome to watch during third round
AUGUSTA, Ga. - The last threesome starting at 1:06 p.m. on the first tee should be interesting.
All this week, people here have been talking about this year’s Masters as a showdown between the PGA and LIV camps.
And this final grouping could be just that – but with an added random element.
It’ll feature Brooks Koepka, the LIV player who’s the Masters leader so far; the PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm, who as of a couple of weeks ago was a favorite to win the green jacket; and from the amateur ranks, Sam Bennett, the laid-back college student from Texas A&M who’s rocketed to No. 3 on the leader board.
12:40 p.m.: Reflections from players who made the cut
Tiger Woods: “I’ve always loved this golf course, and I love playing this event. Obviously I’ve missed a couple with some injuries, but I’ve always wanted to play here. I’ve loved it.”
Cameron Young: “Yeah, I feel like it probably – I feel like I did pretty well to shoot even par the nine holes that I had. And if it was 80 and sunny with no wind I probably would have been really upset with even. So definitely a bummer. But at least I kept myself in it and I get to tee off somewhat late on Saturday.”
Viktor Hovland: “I feel like I’m playing well, but at the same time I definitely left a couple putts out there. Hitting it good enough I probably could have shot 2-under today on that back nine, which would have been a very good score. But we’re still in the Tournament.”
Adam Scott: “I feel like I just survived. I wasn’t feeling great out there this morning, but I managed some good saves. I didn’t really give myself any chances. It was just hard work. So I survived. Hopefully – I don’t know. Just have to find a rhythm somehow and get a couple more looks. I didn’t have many looks even yesterday actually. It was just a bit of a fight in the second round, but happy to kind of be under par.”
Abraham Ancer: “I played good both days. Put myself in tough spots a couple times and left some bogeys, but I stayed patient. This morning it was probably pretty easy to lose my patience thinking about the weather and all that stuff, but I grinded it out, made some good pars, made some good up and downs, and made a birdie there and a bogey. Happy with my results so far.”
Seamus Power: “If we play this afternoon it’s not going to be pleasant. So it’s going to be tough for everyone. So if you can get out there and maybe get it under par and, you know, who knows here, especially if you can get it to like 13 tee under par, maybe pick up a few more and you can make up a lot of ground. So we’ll see what happens. Obviously depends on what’s going to happen from out of the sky.”
Shane Lowry: “It’s just kind of take the rough with the smooth and just go out there and do as best you can when you are out there. Like the stop on 11 for 10 minutes yesterday and then obviously on 14 yesterday evening, it is what it is. We knew we were going to come back out and play in some pretty bad weather and to be honest it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be this morning. But it was still very tricky out there.”
Mackenzie Hughes: “Overall, kind of did okay with it coming in. There was some tough shots and some difficult – holes 17 and 18 were playing really tough. Yeah, it’s tough out there.”
Sahith Theegala: “I’ve been playing well. I played really well the last two days. I hit it really good. I just didn’t get anything up and down and didn’t make any putts really, which is – you know, it’s hard out here. … I’m very happy with how I’m driving the ball and hitting it. I’m excited to play the next couple days. I know the weather’s going to be bad. Just people aren’t going to go crazy low or anything.”
Patrick Reed: “I left a lot out there. I felt like I left a lot out there on the first day, and even in the second round earlier yesterday, I mean, I missed a couple short putts. Just left shots out there that you just can’t leave out there. Because of that, I got myself a pretty big hole to try to go catch Koepka.”
Fred Couples: “I am excited to make the cut. That’s why I come here. The last four years have been really mediocre golf. Maybe one year I was semi close to making the cut. But that’s my objective, and I did it. It’s not like ha, ha, ha. Now I can screw around and play 36 holes for fun. I’m going to try and compete.”
11:45 a.m.: Thoughts from a player who won’t be moving on
Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira: “The experience was amazing. I had a great time not only competing out there, just getting the Masters experience for the first time. It’s been a dream. Now I know how it feels. Hopefully moving forward it will help me to grow as a player and hopefully be back in a couple years.”
11:14 a.m.: Cut, start times announced for third round
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Players just finished the second round, and there’s a quick turnaround for the third round.
This year, 54 players, including competitors from 15 different countries, made the 36-hole cut from a starting field of 88. The cut fell at three-over-par 147.
The third round will begin at 11:30 a.m., with spilt-tee threesomes.
Here’s the schedule:
10:35 a.m.: Tiger makes the cut for third round
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Tiger Woods made the cut for the third round of the 2023 Masters despite closing the weather-delayed second round with back-to-back bogeys.
It’s his second Masters since a devastating car accident made it hard for him to walk the long distances across the course.
By making the cut, he joins Fred Couples and Gary layer as the only players to make 23 consecutive cuts at the Masters.
Woods finished the round with a 1-over 73 and walked off the course a shot above the projected cut line of 2-over 146. But the line climbed to 3 over when Justin Thomas made a bogey at the 17th.
Woods’ spot in the final two rounds was secured when Thomas failed to make a birdie at the 18th.
Thomas wound up missing the cut himself when he made another bogey at the 18th.
10:30 a.m.: Conditions get swampy at Augusta National
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Conditions are very slippery and slushy right now for patrons trying to get around Augusta National Golf Club.
A staff member told us the rain’s only going to get heavier, and not to be surprised if we soon hear the horns ordering people off the grounds.
Right now, patron crossings are very swampy, as is the range, where water is polling around drains
Although the grounds haven’t yet been evacuated, there’s an exodus of umbrella-carrying patrons trying to get out of the rain that’s coming down heavy and sideways.
The line to the patron shop was just cut off, with no one else being allowed to wait.
10:20 a.m.: Players recount drama of trees tumbling
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Patrons weren’t the only witnesses when the wind blew over three trees yesterday near the 16th and 17th greens.
“I was standing on the right side, which is near 17, right by the back right bunker on 16 lining up my putt,” 1987 champion and Augusta native Larry Mize said. “Then all of a sudden, I heard it, and I looked around, and I saw the trees.
“I’m thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, people, get out of there,’” Mize said. “Thank goodness no one was hurt.”
Sahith Theegala, who is playing in his first Masters, said: “We were cresting the fairway on 15. We thought it was a scoreboard or a grandstand. We were hoping it wasn’t something that hit anybody.”
On the nearby 16th green, Harrison Crowe saw the tree falling and started to backpedal in surprise, while on the 15th green, Sergio Garcia stopped and stared at what seemed to be happening in slow motion.
This morning, Garcia teed off at the 17th as he finished his second round, and the 2017 champion strained his head over patrons as he began walking toward his shot to see where the trees once stood.
10:14 a.m.: Today, there’s not much sign of trees that fell over
AUGUSTA, Ga. - There’s not much left of the trees that fell yesterday on the course, crushing chairs but miraculously injuring no one.
If you didn’t know something happened there, you might easily miss it.
Three separate areas near the 16th green and 17th tee are roped off this morning with some wood chips left from where workers quickly cut them up yesterday. Two of the areas are covered with green gravel and another with pine straw.
One area where a smaller tree fell is 10 feet by 10 feet while another is 10 feet by 15 feet. The area where the third tree fell is roped off in a hexagon shape with about 6-8 feet to each side.
At their closest point to the gallery, the trees fell about 30 feet from patrons.
Several workers around the area were still discussing what happened, and one called it “a miracle” that no one was injured or killed.
Staff members said the debris from the trees was gone before sunset last night.
The trees fell as winds whipped up when stormy weather moved in. Play in the second round was soon suspended.
10:04 a.m.: Weather warning signs go back up
AUGUSTA, Ga. - As rain continues to pound Augusta National, weather warning signs just went back up on the course.
The signs don’t mean play is being suspended or the grounds are being evacuated, but they’re often a precursor to that.
The rain is “coming down sideways and hard,” News 12′s Will Rioux observed.
9:50 a.m.: Fred Couples makes Masters history
AUGUSTA, Ga. - At 63 years and 184 days old, Fred Couples has become the oldest player ever to make the cut at the Masters.
He finished his second round at 1 over, breaking Bernhard Langer’s record for oldest player to make the cut at the Masters.
“It is what it is,” he said after he finished his round, breaking Bernhard Langer’s record for oldest player to make the cut at the Masters. “Am I going to look thrilled to play 18 holes in this this afternoon? No, I’m a wimp. I’m an old wimp. But I’m excited to play.”
9:48 a.m.: Rain is now pouring down
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Rain has just gotten heavier on the course than it has been all morning.
It had been a steady drizzle, but now it’s coming down in diagonal sheets.
9:27 a.m.: At 63, Couples likely to make cut
AUGUSTA, Ga. - It appears that Fred Couples will be playing the rest of the weekend at the Masters.
The 1992 champion finished his second round with a bogey, leaving him at 1 over for the championship and inside the projected cut line. That would make the 63-year-old Couples the oldest player to make the cut at Augusta National, beating the mark that Bernhard Langer set during the 2020 tournament by about 3 1/2 months.
It also would be the 31st career cut for Couples, trailing only Jack Nicklaus’ record of 37.
At one point, Couples made 23 straight cuts to tie Gary Player for the longest such streak at the Masters. Five-time champion Tiger Woods can join them by making the cut Saturday. He had six holes left in the cold, rainy weather and was right on the projected cut line of 2 over. Woods has never missed the cut as a professional.
Players are trying to finish the second round, which was suspended Friday due to weather, before the third round begins later today. A cold drizzle and rain are expected to continue throughout the day with storms possible.
9:26 a.m.: An update on conditions on the course
AUGUSTA, Ga. - On the 18th green, it’s 53 degrees and raining, The rain is starting to pick up from earlier–, which was expected. The SubAir system – machinery that can dry out the greens – is running.
9:20 a.m.: Tiger looks likely to make the cut
8:56 a.m.: Augusta native on the 18th hole
8:04 a.m.: Play has resumed in the 87th Masters
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Round 2 has resumed after play was suspended yesterday due to weather.
It’s anyone’s guess how long today’s wet weather will allow play to continue, but we do know Augusta National is well-equipped with machinery to dry out the greens.
7:51 a.m.: Here’s the golf forecast for today
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Rain continues to fall, but we haven’t gotten any word of plans to delay the resumption of Round 2, which was halted yesterday due to weather. Resumption is planned for 8 a.m.
News 12 First Alert meteorologists say to expect rain for most of the day, with temperatures today almost 40 degrees cooler than Friday. There will be gusty northeast winds at 10 to 20 mph dropping wind chills into the lower 40s all day long.
Scattered showers are expected to become more numerous as we go through the morning, according to the official Augusta National Golf Club forecast.
Showers will transition to a constant rain between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.,
Moderate rain can be expected this afternoon with some pockets being heavy at times.
- 8 a.m.: 80%
- 10 a.m.: 90%
- Noon-4 p.m.: 100%
- 6 p.m.: 90%
- Through 2 p.m.: 0.4-0.6 inch
- 2-8 p.m.: 0.5-0.75 inch
- 8 p.m.-2 a.m.: 0.25-0.5 inch.
7:37 a.m.: Oosthuizen withdraws, blaming injury
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Due to injury, Louis Oosthuizen has officially withdrawn from the Masters after completing 17 holes of his second round.
The 40-year-old 2010 British Open champion from South Africa didn’t specify the injury. He only had one hole left to play in the second round and wasn’t going to make the cut for Round 3 with a record of 7-over through 35 holes.
6:50 a.m.: Rain falls as Round 2 set to resume
AUGUSTA, Ga. - A light but steady rain is falling this Saturday as golfers are set to resume Round 2 of the 2023 Masters.
Play was suspended yesterday as bad weather moved in and winds blew down three trees on the course. No one was injured, luckily.
Play is set to resume at 8 a.m. today, but that will all depend on the weather.
Traffic on Washington Road is as packed as it ever is on a Masters morning right now, so patrons are clearly eager for the fun to begin.
7:15 p.m.: McIlroy’s Masters hopes are dashed for this year
AUGUSTA, Ga. - McIlroy needs a win at Augusta National to become only the sixth golfer in history to win all four majors.
But struggled mightily today, shooting 77 to leave him at 5-over par through 36 holes — three shots behind the projected cut.
Several golfers were still on the course when play was briefly suspended because of a weather warning, but McIlroy’s chances of playing on the weekend appear all but over.
6:30 p.m.: Koepka is in lead with second round to resume in morning
AUGUSTA, Ga. - With play set to continue at 8 a.m. Saturday in the second round of the Masters, Brooks Koepka is the clubhouse leader at 12-under par, four shots ahead of U.S. Amateur champion Sam Bennett.
Among those still on the course was Jon Rahm at 9 under through nine holes. Tiger Woods was hovering around the cut line through 11 holes.
The second round of the Masters ended early Friday after storms moved in and three pine trees toppled near spectators left of the 17th tee. Augusta National says no one was injured.
Although the round is set to resume Saturday morning, more wind and rain in the forecast.
Rain and storms have been in the forecast for days, casting a literal dark cloud over the tournament.
Tee times had been moved forward by 30 minutes today to account for possible delays.
Among players and patrons this week, the weather has been as much a topic of discussion as other themes, such as the LIV-PGA rivalry and changes in the 13th hole at Augusta National.
5:45 p.m.: Augusta National says no one hurt when trees fall
AUGUSTA, Ga. - As spectators watched golf, a large pine tree fell over between the 16th and 17th tees. The large tree snagged two smaller ones, uprooting them and taking them down, as well.
It happened around 4:20 p.m., around the same Augusta National Golf Club suspended play during the Masters and started evacuating the grounds.
Augusta National Golf Club said no one was injured.
“Yeah, so we were on close to the 15th green. Heard this massive sound, really loud like a crack of thunder. Looked over and saw a pretty large tree that seemed to fall,” a witness said. “And then one cracked and all three of them fell down onto where
Around 5:45 p.m., Masters organizers issued this statement:
“Augusta National Golf Club can confirm that no injuries were reported from three trees that were blown over to the left of the No. 17 tee due to wind. The safety and well-being of everyone attending the Masters Tournament will always be the top priority of the Club. We will continue to closely monitor weather today and through the Tournament.”
Play in the second round will resume at 8 a.m. Saturday.
4:09 p.m.: Players reflect on their second-round performance
AUGUSTA, Ga. - More players are finishing their second round and reflecting on their performance. Here’s a look at some of the latest:
Collin Morikawa, making his fourth Masters appearance, finished with a 69, saying: “I haven’t put it all together quite yet, but pretty thrilled with the 6-under, back-to-back 69s. I just found out that I’ve only made two bogeys, so that’s a good thing obviously out here at Augusta. Just kind of managing my game piece by piece, putting it in the right spots, and I’ve just got to convert a few of those extra birdies, and we’d be closer to 10.”
Justin Rose, making his 18th Masters appearance, finished with a 71, saying: “Just another good solid round out there, I think. For some reason the pins felt a little bit trickier for me personally today. And maybe even noticing how Brooks played the golf course, he kind of ate up the par-5s and not much else. I feel like that was kind of the way it felt out there.”
Sam Burns, making his second Masters appearance, finished with a 71, saying: “It felt good coming into the week. It’s always fun to play with guys like Rory and Tom, just world-class players, so yeah, we had a good time out there. I didn’t necessarily putt it particularly well yesterday. Felt like today I played pretty solid. But the pins were pretty difficult. I hit a really good drive on 13. I mean, it was four yards too far left. Otherwise I have an iron into the hole and most likely make birdie.”
Joaquin Niemann, making his fourth Masters appearance, finished with a 69, saying: “I think it was kind of like a hard 18. I’ve been struggling on that tee shot. It takes me a lot of work to hit that fairway on 18. Tried something different today than yesterday, and it didn’t work.Pretty happy I made par on the last one. That makes dinner taste a little better, you know.”
Jason Day, making his 12th Masters appearance, finished with a 72, saying: “‘m actually very disappointed with how I finished. Being decently close to where Brooks was going into the weekend, you never know how it goes, and obviously going from 9 to 5 was a bit of a kick in the gut.”
Ryan Fox, making his first Masters appearance, finished at 71, saying: “I managed to have some shots and actually hit some really good shots from trouble. Fooch, Billy Horschel’s caddie, said to me through five holes, he said, that’s the best 1-under stretch of golf around Augusta he’s seen for a while, so I’ll definitely take that as a compliment.”
Phil Mickelson, making his 30th Masters appearance, finished with a 69, saying: " I scored really well today. I actually did not hit it anywhere near as well as I did yesterday. But I scored well. I got it up and down, made a lot of good putts.”
Sepp Straka, making his second Masters appearance, finished with a 73, saying: “I played pretty well for most of the day. Some pretty stupid mistakes, especially on the last three holes. The three-putts were just kind of -- yeah, just bad mistakes you shouldn’t really do out here. But other than the mistakes, I felt like I played pretty well, hit the ball pretty well, so looking forward to the weekend.”
Gary Woodland, making his 11th Masters appearance, finished with a 72, saying: “I played a lot better than the score. Hit a bad putt on 13 and a bad chip on 15, two par-5s that you’d like to take advantage of. Outside of that, you make birdies there, you shoot a couple under. Happy with the birdie on 17 to get it back to level for the day.”
Mito Pereira, making his first Masters appearance, finished with a 70, saying: “I played solid these first two days, really solid from the tee to the green. Just my putting hasn’t been really working well, but I managed to get some birdies coming in. Shot 2-under today for even par. Pretty happy with how I ended up and just looking forward for the weekend.”
Bernhard Langer, making his 40th Masters appearance, finished with a 74, saying: “Well, I would have loved to be here on Easter Sunday, but I’m going to miss the cut. ... I would have liked to play better and play for the green jacket, but that’s not going to happen.”
Ben Carr, a 22-year-old college student, finished with a 74, saying: " I definitely felt like I did a good job of staying patient. I really just felt like, if I kept hitting good shots into greens, eventually a putt would fall. I definitely thought I made the putt on 12 off the face. Even 11, I thought the putt 11 was dropping.”
Francesco Molinari, making his 12th Masters appearance, finished with a 76, saying: “I just played okay. Just didn’t score very well. Obviously I didn’t have a good start with the double at the first and never really got it back from there.”
Charl Schwartzel, making his 14th Masters appearance, finished with a 73, saying: “There’s everything about it, just from the time you drive in through the gates, through Magnolia, just standing on the first tee looking down this beautiful fairway, all the people out here, the respect this place has got, it just adds up.”
Aldrich Potgieter is a 17-year-old who won the 2022 Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes in England. He said: “It’s been an unbelievable week so far. I’m here for the next two days, so I’m trying to enjoy it how everyone else is enjoying it, not playing on the golf side.”
Jose Maria Olazabal, making his 34th Masters appearance, finished with a 77, saying: “I didn’t expect to do great things this week. I knew how my game was before coming here, so pretty much the score reflected, well, the level of golf I’m playing at the moment.”
3:30 p.m.: Play briefly suspended
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Due to weather conditions, play was suspended for 21 minutes in the second round of the Masters.
Due to inclement weather conditions, Augusta National Golf Club said it was forced to suspend play at 3:07 p.m. and subsequently evacuated the grounds.
But play resumed at 3:28.
The suspension happened about two hours after weather warning signs went up. A large number of patrons left in a steady exodus after those signs went up.
Rain and storms have been in the forecast for days, casting a literal dark cloud over the tournament.
Tee times had been moved forward by 30 minutes today to account for possible delays.
Among players and patrons this week, the weather has been as much a topic of discussion as other themes, such as the LIV-PGA rivalry and changes in the 13th hole at Augusta National.
Patrons today came well-prepared for wet weather, with raincoats and umbrellas in abundance.
2:42 p.m.: Photo gallery | Scenes from second round of 2023 Masters
2:10 p.m.: College student Sam Bennett moves up leader board
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Sam Bennett is showing no signs of fading under the bright lights of the Masters.
The amateur from Madisonville, Texas, is moving up the leaderboard at Augusta National.
He has put together back-to-back birdies at the 13th and 14th holes to move into second place at 8 under through 32 holes, four shots behind clubhouse leader Brooks Koepka.
The 23-year-old Bennett is flirting with the Masters’ 36-hole amateur record of 9 under set by Ken Venturi in 1956. He has four holes left to play in round two.
Bennett opened with a first round 68 on Thursday and has continued to stay hot with five birdies and one bogey so far on Day 2. The Texas A&M star has shown impressive accuracy, hitting 92% of his fairways (23 of 25).
1:50 p.m.: Rain starts to fall at Augusta National
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Rain has started to fall on the course at Augusta National Golf Club during the second round of the 2023 Masters.
It doesn’t appear heavy and the course has not been evacuated, but weather warning signs had gone up earlier. From past experience, we know the warning signs are often a precursor to suspension of play.
With a wet forecast for today and Saturday, weather questions have been looming over the tournament all week.
1:41 p.m.: Koepka speaks during news conference
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Brooks Koepka is answering questions at a news conference after he finished the second round of the Masters.
Among the highlights:
- He said he missed playing against some of the best players he no longer plays against in LIV Golf. He said if he hadn’t been hurt, the decision to go to LIV would have been a lot harder.
- “To be here is special; it’s a special event,” he said.
- “If you win one here, it kinda ticks a lot of boxes, doesn’t it?” he said.
- “I like the way I’m playing,” he said.
- When asked what kind of mindset he needs going into the weekend, he said his current mindset “is working for me now,” so he’s not planning on changing it.
- He said after the disappointment of the Friday of Masters week last year, he slammed the back window of a car twice with his fist. The window survived, he said, quipping that “I guess Mercedes makes pretty good back windows.” The ride home was quiet, he said.
1:05 p.m.: Koepka finishes second round with 67
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Brooks Koepka took advantage of the early prime playing conditions at Augusta National, shooting a bogey-free round of 67 to move to 12-under for the tournament, five shots ahead of the rest of the field.
His round included 14 pars, three birdies and one eagle.
Several golfers still have yet to tee off, including first-round co-leader Jon Rahm, who is 7 under. The other first-round leader, Viktor Hovland just got underway.
But they will have some work to do to catch Koepka, who played particularly well on the par 5s. He was 5 under on those four holes and even par on the rest of the course.
Koepka has won the U.S. Open and PGA Championship twice but is zeroing in on a first Masters win after finishing second here in 2019. He shot 65 on Thursday to tie for the first round lead and has only one bogey in 36 holes.
1 p.m.: Weather warning signs have gone up
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Weather warning signs have just been posted on the course and the range.
Rain is not falling yet but is expected.
The sirens have not sounded and the course has not been evacuated. However, past experience tells us the signs often go up before play is suspended.
Many people aren’t waiting for sirens.
Although umbrellas and raincoats have been in abundance all day among the patrons, there is a large flow of patrons toward the exit right now.
12:28 p.m: Koepka extends lead
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Brooks Koepka is now at least four strokes ahead in the second round of the Masters.
Koepka made a short birdie putt at the par-5 13th hole after skipping his second shot through the green. He two-putted from the fringe, pushing his score for the tournament to 11 under.
The 36-hole record is a 14-under 130, set by Jordan Spieth in 2015 on his way to the green jacket.
Koepka, a four-time major champion and one of the most prominent players from the upstart LIV Golf Tour, is looking to score a huge victory for the Saudi-backed league.
The Masters is the first major clash between the established PGA Tour and LIV, which has 17 of its players remaining in the field after Kevin Na withdrew.
Koepka began the day tied at 7 under with Norway’s Viktor Hovland and Spain’s Jon Rahm, who both have afternoon tee times. Australian Jason Day has also moved to 7 under as he makes the turn.
12:05 p.m.: In-round interviews give fans viewers new perspective
AUGUSTA, Ga. - In a surprise for viewers, a telecast of the Masters included in-round interviews with Rory McIlroy and Max Homa on Thursday.
CBS, which is producing the Masters, first broke out the technology at the Farmers Insurance Open.
“It does feel like that’s a good way to maybe gain some perspective for the fans to enjoy golf a little bit easier,” Homa said.
Even though Homa is no stranger to putting himself out there on social media, McIlroy went first.
Which player would McIlory most like to see do it?
“Tiger. There’s only one answer there,” he said.
What are the chances of that happening?
“Zero,” McIlroy said with a laugh.
11:57 a.m.: Practice ahead of the round
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Ahead of their tee times for Round 2 of the Masters, players got in some practice. Take a look:
11:05 a.m.: Koepka stays hot, 3 shots ahead
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Brooks Koepka is putting some distance on the Masters field, making the turn at 3 under for the day and 10 under overall.
The 2019 runner-up, who’s now one of the highest-profile players on the breakaway LIV Golf tour, made an eagle at the par-5 eighth hole to extend his lead to three shots.
Koepka began the day tied with Norway’s Viktor Hovland and Spain’s Jon Rahm, who both have afternoon tee times.
Jason Day is also on the move. The Aussie is 2 under for the round after seven holes, giving him a 7-under total that pushed him even with Hovland and Rahm for the second spot on the leaderboard.
No one else is closer than five strokes behind Koepka.
11:04 a.m.: Take a look at the much-discussed 13th hole
10:59 a.m.: Morikawa moves to 5 under par
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Collin Morikawa just rolled in a lengthy birdie at the fourth hole and moved to 5 under par.
He seems to be doing better today than he felt he was doing yesterday. He called his first-round performance “pretty mediocre” after he finished.
He’s had plenty of preparation, so maybe it’s kicking in today.
“I probably had some of the best rep I’ve had in my career so far these past few days,” he said. “Obviously, you’ve got to put it together in a tournament.”
10:51 a.m.: What does Scheffler think of 13th hole?
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Defending masters champion Scottie Scheffler isn’t complaining much about the changes to the 13th hole at Augusta National Golf Club.
The changes are among the most-discussed topics at this year’s Masters Tournament.
Commenting on it after finishing Round 1 on Thursday, Scheffler said:
“I birdied it today, so I can’t – I didn’t not like it today. I’m interested – I don’t know exactly what it’s going to play like. For me, right now, I feel like it takes a little bit of the decision-making out just because before, the difference between an OK drive and a good drive wasn’t too drastic. Now if I hit an OK drive, I’m probably laying up, and if I hit a great drive, I’m probably going for it, and so that makes the decision a little bit easier.”
10:31 a.m.: Koepka soars with eagle on eighth hole
10:01 a.m.: Koepka stays hot as Round 2 starts
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Brooks Koepka was among the early starters for the second round of the Masters on Friday, and a birdie at the par-5 second and a couple of nice par saves moved him ahead of first-round co-leaders Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm.
Kopeka, who finished one shot behind winner Tiger Woods in 2019, is setting the pace the contingent from the Saudi-backed Liv Golf circuit. But the most well-known defector from the PGA Tour, Phil Mickelson, also opened solidly with 71 and added a birdie at the first Friday to reach 2 under for the championship.
Defending champion Scottie Scheffler began the day at 4 under. He’s in a group with U.S. Amateur champ Sam Bennett, who was also 4 under, and the only one of the seven amateurs to break par.
Augusta National produced plenty of red numbers Thursday, but more challenging hole locations have made the course play harder for the second round. And that’s before wind and rain that is expected to arrive later Friday.
Hovland and Rahm could get the brunt of that weather. Both are in the final four groups of the day.
10 a.m.: McIlroy plans to ‘tidy up’ his performance today
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy tees off at 10:12 a.m. for the second round of the Masters, a day after scoring an even par of 72 in the first round.
He wasn’t entirely pleased with his performance, he said Thursday.
“Just a little untidy in places,” he said. “I missed a couple of tee shots left on 7 and 17 that I sort of got penalized for, like an untidy bogey on 3, a three-putt on 11. So just stuff like that that’s – you know, it’s not disastrous, but I just need to sort of tidy it all up.”
Like other players, McIlroy is keeping an eye on the weather.
“Hopefully, we don’t get affected by it too much, and we can get out there and play 18 holes uninterrupted,” he said. “I can shoot something in the mid-60s and get myself back in it.”
9:36 a.m.: Ga. couple announces pregnancy at Masters
AUGUSTA, Ga. - A Georgia couple used the Masters as the venue to announce that they’re expecting a baby.
Zach and Kassy Eason live in Baxley, but Kassy is originally from Augusta.
They were at the Masters last year but were evacuated due to storms, so this was their second chance to come.
“We were super excited to be able to announce it at the Masters,” they told News 12′s Meredith Anderson.
Their due date is Nov. 6.
9:17 a.m.: Spieth aims to get off to a good start today
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Jordan Spieth, making his 10th Masters appearance, tees off at 10:24 this morning for the second round of the 2023 Masters, having finished 3 under par yesterday at 69 in the first round.
Here’s what he had to say yesterday about his first-round performance:
Q. Are you satisfied with a 3-under par start?
JORDAN SPIETH: I made seven birdies, so I wish I posted a lower number. But I just had two swings I would like to get back. It’s OK, given the conditions that are coming. Trying to get off to a good start tomorrow will be important because it might blow in when we have maybe four, five holes left, and obviously, the guys later in the day may have it a little bit tougher. But some of those good rounds were actually in front of us in our wave, and you imagine that those guys are going to push it even further. So, yeah, after the front nine, I wouldn’t have liked 3-under, but still a nice last four, five holes there.
Q. I would assume that the two shots are the approaches on 11 and second shot –
JORDAN SPIETH: 11 wasn’t that bad. 11 was about a foot from being right where I wanted it. 13, I struck it well. I just – it was a really bad decision. Instead of lining up to cut it to the middle of the green, I lined up to cut it to the pin from the middle of the green hoping it would come out flat and straight and just trying to kind of feed one in for eagle versus just being okay with having an inside 10 feet for birdie. Just a mistake I don’t normally make out here that was really frustrating. The other one, I hit a bad drive on 5. It cost me a shot. 11′s 11. I ended up in an in-between number and you can’t hit it over that green, so I tried to hit it in the fat section and it just got in some breeze and was about a yard or two from being perfect.
Q. Have you ever hit a shot from over there on the other side of the water there on 11?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don’t think I’ve ever been in the drop zone – I don’t think I’ve ever hit it in the left there water before. I’ve bailed so many right. But to the back pin, you know, it’s -- you can’t really chip it close if you get it middle of the green and right of the green there. So they have done a good job in changing that hole to where when you miss it right, it goes further and further and makes it harder. So it makes you have to commit to the second shot more and I over-committed by a yard today.
Q. What was your number one 13?
JORDAN SPIETH: I had 230 hole but like 198 front. So the effective front to that pin’s – like 15 on is where it gets wider, so what is that, 213. So it was -- lie was clean, stance was good. I had a great line on it. I couldn’t have asked for anything better after the tee shot. Obviously, if I was stymied, I would have made a lower score. But I just should have made a better decision in playing to the fat part of the green.
Q. How gettable was it today out there?
JORDAN SPIETH: It felt like kind of the 2015 tournament where if you were in the right spots you could birdie most every hole, with like 11 excluded. I felt like the rest of the golf course was very gettable. I guess we’ve had some rain, I’ve been a bit surprised at how soft the greens have been all week. When they have the SubAir. But the fairways have gotten a lot firmer over the last four days. I hit less club into holes hitting the fairway, like two less clubs most every hole than say Sunday or Monday. But I’m shocked at how -- you start to see some areas, like 9, when you get the ridges, they start to brown on tomorrow. But for the rest, I mean, for the most part you could fly mid irons in close to holes. So I imagine tomorrow morning it will be a little firmer and then the rain will soften it up again.
9:09 a.m.: How are the amateurs doing so far at the Masters?
AUGUSTA, Ga. - U.S. Amateur champion Sam Bennett was the only amateur to break par Thursday, shooting a bogey-free round of 68 to match playing partner and defending Masters champion Scottie Scheffler.
Bennett was just two strokes off Ken Venturi’s record for low round by an amateur, set in 1956. Venturi would take the lead into Sunday, when he shot 80 and finished one shot behind Jack Burke Jr.
Bennett, a two-time All-American at Texas A&M, made a long birdie putt at the first hole. He added a chip-in for eagle at the second, then another long birdie putt at the sixth. He made par the rest of the way to the clubhouse.
“It was kind of gloomy all day,” Bennett said, “and then on 17, it was probably the prettiest view looking up that fairway, and 18 as well through the chute. The sun was shining. So I just wanted to make two more good swings, which I did.”
Harrison Crowe and Ben Carr, who lost to Bennett at the U.S. Amateur, opened with 75. Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira shot 76 and fellow amateurs Matthew McClean, Aldrich Potgieter and Gordon Sargent had rounds of 5 over.
“Kicked my butt out there,” said Sargent, the NCAA champion from Vanderbilt. “But I talked to my caddie at every single hole. We’re at Augusta at the Masters, how can you complain?”
8:54 a.m.: Tiger remains as popular as ever with patrons
AUGUSTA, Ga. - When Tiger Woods is at Augusta National Golf Club, it’s a completely different energy.
You never have to ask where Tiger is because you can just follow the sound of the Tiger roars.
And he’s just as popular now as ever. The problem is no one knows how much longer they’ll be able to see him play.
8:44 a.m.: Trouble for Tiger?
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Tiger Woods had a hard time keeping up with playing partners Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele on Thursday.
Hovland, the No. 9 player in the world, shot 7-under 65 to match Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka for the day’s lowest round, two off the tournament record held by Nick Price (1986) and Greg Norman (1996). Schauffele shot 68.
Woods, who is still recovering from car accident last year, shot 74. That left him nine shots back of the lead.
“If I can just kind of hang in there,” he said, “maybe kind of inch my way back, hopefully it will be positive towards the end.”
8:09 a.m.: Phil sports a new, trimmed-down look
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Those who haven’t been paying attention to LIV Golf probably were a little shocked when they got their first look at a trimmed down Phil Mickelson this week. The three-time Masters champion said he’s lost 25 pounds.
“I stopped eating food; that was a big help,” Mickelson said. “I also lost muscle, so I had to start lifting, and I’ve been lifting and slowly have been getting my speed and strength back to where I need it to be.”
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- Could LIV-PGA rivalry affect relations between Masters players?
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Mickelson said it’s just a healthier path for him.
“Some of these guys out here today, how far and how fast they’re able to swing the club, it’s really amazing,” Mickelson said. “It doesn’t mean that they’re going to win. You still have to hit the shots and manage your way around the game, manage your game around the course. But I’ve got to be in shape to be able to have a speed that allows me to compete.”
What drove him to slim down?
“I think I’m having – I needed something different, and I’m having a lot of fun having three teammates and having a different energy and a fun environment, and I want to play and compete at that level. And I’m going to figure it out,” he said. “Like I’m not scoring well, but I’m not playing bad either. So I’m hitting, like I say, a lot of good shots. I want to give myself a chance to play for a few years and experience a new format and something new and exciting and be with teammates. So I’m having fun, and if I’m not in shape, I can’t do it.”
And it looks like he’ll try to keep up the dieting.
“I want to be healthy and well and not have any issues and not have any cardiac issues and not have any – like I want to be fit and be able to enjoy life because this is a really fun chapter right now for Amy and I,” he said.
“That’s kind of another big motivator. But when your body, when you rely on your body to be able to do your job, it’s a lot easier to be motivated to stay fit and get healthy and be well and so forth than if you’re not. Like if you don’t need to do that, it’s a lot harder to be motivated.”
7:35 a.m.: What surprises will the weather bring?
AUGUSTA, Ga. - The weather remains an unsettled question during the rest of the 2023 Masters Tournament.
Tee times have been moved up by 30 minutes across the board in anticipation of possible delays due to the rain that’s expected to fall later today.
Out on the course this morning, a lot of patrons are carrying umbrellas and raincoats.
According to News 12 First Alert meteorologists, a cold front is likely to push south through the region during the day, making for a tricky temperature forecast and changing wind direction.
A big drop in temperatures is expected in the afternoon. Winds will start out of the southeast early in the day and then switch out of the northeast behind the front and getting gustier throughout the day. Isolated to widely scattered showers are possible early in the day, getting heavier later in the afternoon and especially tonight.
Looking ahead, there will be much cooler temperatures Saturday with wind chills in the 40s all day long. Rain chances are high early Saturday and should stay elevated through the entire day. There will be sustained winds out of the northeast 10-15 mph and gusts over 20 mph likely during the day Saturday.
Rain will linger across the region Saturday night into early Sunday, but most of Sunday is trending dry.
6:50 a.m.: Second round gets underway this morning
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Going into the second round of the Masters, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland and LIV golfer Brooks Koepka are tied at the top spot of the leader board at 65 each.
Cameron Young and Jason Day are two shots back after posting 67s. Defending champion Scottie Scheffler is three shots back after shooting 68.
Play gets underway at 7:30 a.m., 30 minutes earlier than initially planned due to expected rain.
First up are Jose Maria Olazabal and Cameron Champ, followed by Charl Schwartzel, Taylor Moore and Bryson DeChambeau at 7:42.
8:45 p.m.: The opening round of the Masters at a glance
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Here’s A brief look at the opening round of the Masters:
AT THE TOP: Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland shot rounds of 7-under 65 to sit atop the leaderboard, while Cameron Young and Jason Day were two shots back of them on a good day for scoring at Augusta National.
CHASING: Defending champion Scottie Scheffler was in a pack at 4 under that includes major winners Shane Lowry and Adam Scott, who is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his Masters triumph. Xander Schauffele also was in that group.
LIMPING: Tiger Woods had just three birdies against five bogeys and opened with a 74, leaving the the five-time champion in danger of missing the cut at the Masters for the first time as a professional.
GOING LOW: U.S. Amateur champion Sam Bennett is also at 4 under after a pair of birdies and a chip-in eagle during his bogey-free round. It was the lowest by an amateur in a major since Hovland shot 67 in the final round of the 2019 U.S. Open.
GONE HOME: Will Zalatoris withdrew before his starting time with an injury; he herniated two disks in his back on a tee shot last year and wound up missing the rest of the season. Kevin Na also with drew after nine holes with an illness.
LIVE AND LET LIVE: Koepka led the LIV Golf contingent, which had just six of its 18 players under par. Among those were British Open champion Cameron Smith at 2 under and three-time Masters champ Phil Mickelson at 1 under.
WALK AND TALK: In a surprise for TV viewers, the ESPN telecast had in-round interviews with Rory McIlroy and Max Homa on Thursday. CBS, which is producing the Masters, first broke out the technology at the Farmers Insurance Open.
HOLD ONTO YOUR HATS: The weather was hot and humid for the opening round, but rain is expected to move in Friday afternoon. It is expected to last into Sunday, and the forecast for the weekend calls for high temperatures in the 50s.
SHOT OF THE DAY: Rahm, who opened with a double bogey, stuck an 8-iron to 3 feet on the 18th for birdie to wrap up his round. It was his fourth birdie over the final six holes.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “You look at the leaderboard, it’s very, very stacked right now. I mean, any one of those guys can win easily, and there’s big names on that leaderboard right now.” — Jason Day.
UP NEXT: All tee times Thursday were moved up 30 minutes because of the threat of rain, so Cameron Champ and Jose Maria Olazabal will lead off at 7:30 a.m. EDT.
TELEVISION: Friday, 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. EDT (ESPN).
6:58 p.m.: Start times pushed up for Friday
AUGUSTA, Ga. - With inclement weather expected Friday, start times have been pushed up by half an hour in Round 2 of the Masters.
Augusta National Golf Club issued this statement: “Due to potential inclement weather on Friday, all starting times will be moved up 30 minutes. The first starting time will be at 7:30 a.m. off the No. 1 tee. Ticket gates will open at 7 a.m., as previously scheduled.”
6:16 p.m.: No wrongdoing found after Koepka caddie questioned
AUGUSTA, Ga. - After completion of Brooks Koepka’s round, the Augusta National Golf Club Competition Committee officials questioned his caddie and others in the group about a possible incident on Hole 15.
“All involved were adamant that no advice was given or requested,” Augusta National said Thursday evening in a bulletin. “Consequently, the Committee determined that there was no breach of the Rules. "
6:10 p.m.: Koepka benefits from early momentum in first round
AUGUSTA, Ga. - After the first round of the 2023 Masters Tournament, Brooks Koepka is tied for the lead at 65 along with Jon Rahm and Vicvtor Hovland.
After he was finished with the round Thursday, he offered a brief interview session.
Asked what gave him the momentum, he said: “Honestly, I think it was just the start. Got off to a good start. Anytime you’re 2-under through 3, it’s a good start. So felt good. Kind of just piggybacked off that momentum and very happy the way I played. Drove the ball really nicely. Left it in some good spots. Even missed quite a few putts. I think I missed a short one on 6, 8, 9, 10, so they were all kind of inside ten feet. But could have been really low but I’ll take it, 7′s pretty good.”
He doesn’t think he has any particular advantage moving forward.
“I don’t think my score really gives me much of an advantage,” he said. “I think maybe my tee time with the weather coming up, I think I might be able to squeak out a few more holes than everybody else before it starts dumping. I would say that’s probably the biggest advantage I’ve got going for me right now.”
Is he worried about the rain that’s in the forecast?
“I don’t think anything of it,” he said. “I really don’t. I just take it – I know it’s so cliché, but I just take it one shot at a time.”
5:50 p.m.: Rahm is confident going into Round 2
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Jon Rahm from Spain is tied with 65 at the top of the leader board with Viktor Hovland after Round 1 of the Masters.
After he finished the round Thursday, he spoke with reporters.
He’s confident going into the second round Friday.
“I’ve played really well this year, right? Maybe not the last few tournaments, but I’m feeling confident, obviously. Hopefully I can keep it going,” he said. “I know it’s the first day and there’s a long way to go and a lot of great players have had a great front nine. I’m looking down so I can -- it’s a little fancy here, I can see my score, I can see everything.”
He admitted there’s a long way to go.
“I’m mostly super happy with what I’ve done today,” he said.
“I’m really happy I started the way I did and gave myself a solid start to the week.”
5:45 p.m.: More reflections on first day of competition
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Some of the golfers to finish the first round are sharing their thoughts on how they did. Among them:
Bernhard Langer from Germany, who’s making his 40th Masters appearance, finished with a 75, saying: “today was tough day. I didn’t make one birdie. Even though I played pretty decent. Hit a lot of quality shots. But hit two or three loose shots that cost me a bogey every time. And I didn’t putt well. I didn’t make any putts to make a couple of birdies and get my score back. So I’m 3-over and that’s not a dream score for me. So I have to do better tomorrow.”
Ben Carr, a college student from the United States, finished with a 75, saying: “I learned a lot. I learned that I’m a good enough ball striker to hit a decent amount of greens and have some looks. But my speed wasn’t very good on the greens. I never really got comfortable on the green. That’s the goal for tomorrow is to hopefully roll in a few more putts. I’d love to have a chance coming down the stretch to make the cut.”
5:10 p.m.: Norwegian’s fashion statement is catching some eyes
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Viktor Hovkland is tied for first on the Masters leader board, but his fashion is getting attention as well as his game.
He wore a bright golf shirt Thursday that featured a red, green, white and black illustration.
In a short interview session after he finished Thursday, his shirt drew comments from two reporters.
“Nice shirt – blended well with the azaleas out there on the course,” one reporter said before asking a question.
Later in the interview session, a reporter said: “I have to ask about your shirt. It kind of took off on social media. Talk about your choice in shirt, and whose idea was it?”
His answer: “I had nothing to do with it. I just wear what they tell me to wear. No, I mean, it’s definitely a little bit out there, but I think I’d rather take these than the pink pants I had last year. So we’re making progress.”
Fashion seems to be getting some attention this year at the Masters. The green jackets awarded to Masters winners have gotten attention at two other news conferences this week.
5:02 p.m.: Hovland is off to a good start ahead of wet weather
AUGUSTA, Ga. - After the first round of the 2023 Masters Tournament, Victor Hovland from Norway is tied at the top of the leader board with Jon Rahm, of Spain.
Hovland had five birdies and an eagle, finishing with a 7-under par 65 on Thursday.
“Got off to a nice start, obviously making eagle on No. 2 and just kept hitting great shots on the front nine and made some putts, and before I knew it, somehow I was 6-under through 11, and yeah, just kind of coast in to 65. So that was awesome,” he said in a quick interview session.
He agrees that such a good start could help if there’s bad weather, as expected, in the next few days.
“Obviously we don’t know how bad it’s going to get, but I tend to think that it’s easier to make up some ground on the easier days,” he said. “So if you start with a really low round and it gets very difficult, it’s kind of easier to protect the score a little bit compared to if you’re five, six, seven shots back, it’s really difficult to make up that much ground if this place is playing very difficult. So obviously getting off to a nice start is key this week.”
4:39 p.m: More players reflect on their first round
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Some of the golfers to finish the first round are sharing their thoughts on how they did. Among them:
Charl Schwartzel, of South Africa, who’s making his 14th Masters appearance, finished with a 74, saying: “Not a good start. I changed putters this week and got out on the first hole and -- I always say, when changing a club, especially a putter that’s got to do with feel, you feel it when you feel a bit of adrenaline, you know? And I got on the 1st, and I was like, wow, this thing’s heavy.”
Aldrich Potgieter, of South Africa, who won the 2022 Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes in England, finished with a 77, saying: “Got off to a slow start. Made a birdie on 2, which was nice. Iron play wasn’t my best today. I just kept hitting in the wrong spots all day, but we’ll look at that tomorrow and look at some more pin placements tomorrow and hopefully that can get better.”
Adam Scott, of Australia, who’s making his 22nd Masters appearance, finished with a 68, saying: “I don’t know for a fact, but it’s probably my best ever opening round. So I have to be satisfied with that. But it was ideal conditions, still fairly soft out there with all the humidity and there were going to be low scores. There’s no wind. So it was nice to get started in the right direction.”
Cameron Young, of the United States, who’s making his second Masters appearance, finished with a 67, saying: “I think I played well. Today was going to be harder hole location-wise, just knowing the weather was going to be nicer today. Yeah, I’m really happy with my start. I think I executed our plan quite well. And anything under par out here is always good.”
Shane Lowry, of Ireland, who’s making his eighth Masters appearance, finished with a 68, saying: “It’s not over yet. We got a long way to go. So, yeah, I’ve, yeah, I prepared really hard and really well for this week and it’s satisfying to get off to a good start. But we all know how long there is to go in this tournament. But, yeah, I did prepare probably for -- I came here three times in the last three weeks, four weeks, played a lot of golf here. So it’s just a place I feel comfortable at now. But, yeah, I did prepare pretty well for this.”
Thomas Pieters, of Belgium, who’s making his fourth Masters appearance, finished with a 74, saying: “I just didn’t get anything out of my round. I three-putted three times, which I just can’t do. That was really the key. I missed a bunch of makable putts. Yeah, not very happy.”
Sahith Theegala, of the United States, who’s making his first Masters appearance, finished with a 73, saying: “I played well. Like I hit the ball well. I just had a bad five-hole stretch. I made five 5s in a row 7 through 11 where I didn’t do that badly, I just like kept not -- I had up-and-down chances, but I kept chipping it to like 12 feet and not exactly the 12-footers that you want. I might have hit it in a new place on 7. I had 62 yards for my third shot from over the green.”
Adam Svensson, of Canada, who’s making his first Masters appearance, finished with a 75, saying: “I wasn’t that nervous, but I was just more excited, I would say. I wasn’t like shaking or anything. It was just more excitement. I was super excited. I was just a little quick with my swing. I was just having a lot of fun. Yeah, just got a little ahead of myself there.”
Sergio Garcia, of Spain, who’d making his 24th Masters appearance, finished with a 74, saying: “Obviously started nicely, but I don’t know, I hit some good tee shots on the front nine. I hit a couple not so great iron shots. I hit a couple really good iron shots. I don’t know. Battling mentally a little bit. I was trying everything I could to do the best I could, and unfortunately the wheels started coming off a bit on the back nine.”
Larry Mize, of the United States, who’s making his 40th and final Masters appearance, finished with a 79, saying: “a little weak on the pitch on No. 1, but yeah, first four holes were good. Five is just a tough hole for me. Let’s face it. Then I did OK on the next few, would like to have a better chance for birdie on 8 than I did. Then the back, there’s a reason this is my last Masters. 10 and 11 is a tough stretch for me. I hit a poor putt -- first putt was poor at 12 to make bogey there, which was disappointing. Then not a very good third shot into 13 because obviously I’ve got to take advantage of holes like that.”
Min Woo Lee, of Australia, who’s making his second Masters appearance, finished with a 75, saying: “It’s obviously tough out there. It’s one of the toughest rounds I’ve played. I haven’t -- I wasn’t familiar with some of these pins because there weren’t any like that last year. So it was a bit new to me and, yeah, it was a bit of good and bad.”
4:08 p.m.: Finishers discuss how Round 1 went for them
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Some of the golfers to finish the first round are sharing their thoughts on how they did. Among them:
Abraham Ancer, of Mexico, who’s making his fourth Masters appearance, finished with Ia 72, saying: “I had to stay patient. I felt like I was hitting the ball pretty well and not really getting anything out of it. Put myself in three tough spots there for those three bogeys and couldn’t manage to save par. But stayed patient. If you lose your patience going into Amen Corner, you can definitely lose any chance to be playing on the weekend if you do that. So I stayed calm, hit the ball good, hit some good shots from the fairway, and made some birdies that I really, really needed.”
Xander Schauffele, of the United States, who’s making his sixth Masters appearance, finished with a 68, saying: “Felt like I was in control of the golf ball, moving it both ways. And, yeah, it’s great when someone in your group shoots 7-under. You want it to be you every time, but he was the horse, so we’re chasing.”
Kurt Kitayama, of the United State, who’s making his first Masters appearance, finished with a 75, saying: “Just struggled. It feels tough. I didn’t seem to get comfortable off the tees. Just made a bunch of bogeys today. Seems like it’s easy to do. I don’t know, it was just a tough day.”
Seamus Power, of Ireland, who’s making his second Masters appearance, finished with a 73, saying: “It was a bit of a struggle all day, but obviously kind of caught up with me there on the last two. But besides that it was some good stuff. But I didn’t drive it well all day and just kind of made some mistakes. That’s about it.”
Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira, of Argentina, who’s making his first Masters appearance, finished with a 76, saying: “I felt very good out there honestly. I just need to hit the ball well. So I put myself in positions where, if you are on the bad spots out there, you’re going to struggle, and that’s what I did. I didn’t put myself in good places.”
Patrick Reed, of the United States, who’s making his 10th Masters appearance, finished with a 72, saying: “It was just kind of one of those frustrating days. I hit 12 out of 14 fairways. The only ones I missed were 15, barely to the right, but I was able to get a good layup there, make birdie. A bad tee shot on the last.”
3:45 p.m.: Tiger reflects on first round
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Tiger Woods gave a brief interview after finishing Round 1 with 74 in his 25th Masters appearance. He finished with a 74, two below par.
Here’s what he said:
Q. Tiger, with the putting, how much of it is just not having competitive reps under your belt?
TIGER WOODS: I didn’t have very good speed early. I had two three-putts, and consequently I’m a couple over par. I didn’t hit my irons close enough today. I didn’t give myself very good looks. Need to do a better job of that going forward to hopefully get myself back in this tournament.
Q. Leg feels good? How does the leg feel?
TIGER WOODS: Sore.
Q. Can you explain what you felt that last approach by the bunker?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I was trying to hook it more than that and trying to put it in the left gallery or left bunker and give myself an angle. I didn’t do that. Then again, try not to hosel rocket over to the right either. That hosel was sitting there right next to that golf ball.
Q. I meant the hopping in the bunker. It looked awkward.
TIGER WOODS: It’s on my left leg. I’m good. Hop on the left leg is fine. If I did it on the other one, not so fine.
Q. How would you grade your round today, different parts of your game?
TIGER WOODS: I felt like I drove it good. I just didn’t do the job I need to do to get the ball close. Today was the opportune time to get the ball -- get the round under par, and I didn’t do that today. Most of the guys are going low today. This was the day to do it. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be a little bit better, a little bit sharper, and kind of inch my way through it. This is going to be an interesting finish to the tournament with the weather coming in. If I can just kind of hang in there, maybe kind of inch my way back, hopefully it will be positive towards the end.
Q. Can you talk us through 3?
TIGER WOODS: Second shot on 3? I hit it kind of high on the face. It wasn’t -- I was trying to spin it, and it came out kind of hopping and was kind of a tumbler.
Q. What’s 13 like for you now?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I hit good drives. Xander and I both hit good drives. We were down there. He was at 219. I was 218 front. But we weren’t sitting very good in the first cut right there. So it wasn’t really an opportune time to go for it, so we both laid up.
Q. Was that sort of the intention they were looking for to have to make you think about it?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, if you hit it up more the left side like Viktor did, Viktor played a cut there, and he got up the left side. Yeah, there’s less options off the tee. There’s no really 3-wood there. You just hit driver and maybe turn it just a touch. Or you can hit what Viktor did. You can cut it off that tee, and you have room. He hit some kind of 4-, 5-iron to the green.
Q. Are there other shots where the pain is more focused, or is it something that’s constant?
TIGER WOODS: It’s constant.
Q. Tiger, can you talk us through 11?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, 11, the wind laid down just a little bit, and I hit a good 5-iron in there right where I was looking. We were trying to keep it short of that bunker so we have an angle. The wind just laid down. I missed a spot by two yards, and it careened off the edge of the slope and gave myself basically no shot.
2:52 p.m.: Tiger has 2 birdies in a row
2:37 p.m.: How the early finishers rate their performance
AUGUSTA, Ga.- Some of the first groups of golfers to finish the first round are sharing their thoughts on how they did. Among them:
Fred Couples, making his 38th Masters appearance, finished with a 71, saying: “It was a good day. It was a fun day. I actually played really, really well, even the front. Everyone bogeys 5. I bogeyed it seven straight years now every round. And then No. 9, for some reason I cannot hit the fairway and made bogey there. Then the back nine was really, really good golf.”
Sandy Lyle, making his 42nd Masters appearance, finished with an 81, saying: “Very substandard golf. I was very disappointed. I thought some of my iron shots on the range would be perfect for some of the holes.”
Matthew McClean, of Northern Ireland, finished with a 77, saying: “I probably deep down would have been happy with the start I had. I was flying there. But to be too disappointed with 5-over in the first round is probably the sign of I actually played pretty well. So, yeah, it was tough to finish it out there, but yeah, I played much better than that and pretty happy with how I played.”
Scott Stallings, making his third Masters appearance, finished with a 71, saying: “I didn’t try to do too much. I gave myself opportunities with the way I drove the ball today. Just basically every time I had a wedge, it was kind of super in between to kind of like an awkward pin. It was never just to be able to hit it right down the flag.”
Harrison Crowe, of Australia, finished with a 75, saying: “It was quite hot out there, so it was quite easy to get a little flustered and get a little bit impatient. Today the pins out there were tough. I felt. It was tough to get the ball close, so you either have to hole a couple of long ones, which I felt like I putted pretty well and still had two 3-putts.”
Kevin Kisner, the Aiken native who’s making his eighth Masters appearance, finished with a 72, saying: “It was an up-and-down day. It was the most benign I’ve ever seen the golf course. Greens were soft and not overly fast. I felt like the scores are going to be lower than they are, and there’s still plenty of time for that. Everyone kind of eases into Augusta, so we’ll see how it goes. It’s still hard as hell, but it seemed easier than it has been.”
Louis Oosthuizen, who’s making his 15th Masters appearance, finished with a 76, saying he was “shaky really. Struggling off the tee badly. Only place I’m comfortable is on the greens really. Going through quite a bit of things in my game and not comfortable on the golf ball. Not an ideal place to be playing a major, but I’m just happy being here.”
Adrian Meronk, of Poland, making his first Masters, finished with a 73, saying: “It was very, very up and down today, played really good, made some mistakes. At the end of the day, a little bit disappointed with the finish, but still a good round. First time here, so, yeah, it was fun.”
1:57 p.m.: Weir zips through course and finishes with 72
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Mike Weir was the first to finish the first round of the Masters.
The Canadian finished with a 72, and he’s happy with that.
“I played really well – 72′s a nice score. That could have been a really, really good score today. I missed three short putts on the back nine today,” he said. “But outside of that, I played really well. I drove it well. I made some nice putts to get the round going early, maybe a 6- or 7-footer on number 1 for par and another one on 3. So that was some nice momentum early, and then I just played really well the rest of the day.”
He may have finished so quickly because his partner, Kevin Na, withdrew due to illness after his first nine holes.
Na had told Weir earlier he wasn’t feeling well, then on the 10th tee, Weir said, “I think he just said, ‘I’m done,’ and handed me his card and away he went.”
1:44 p.m.: Zalatoris withdraws due to injury
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Due to injury, Will Zalatoris has officially withdrawn from the Masters Tournament prior to starting his first round.
Zalatoris, the No. 8 ranked player in the world, has struggled with back issues in the past.
He was the runner-up at the PGA Championship and U.S. Open last year went on to win his first PGA Tour win at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. However, the following week at the BMW Championship, he suffered two herniated disks during a tee shot, ending his season.
The 26-year-old Zalatoris finished tied for sixth last year at the Masters, seven shots behind champion Scottie Scheffler.
12:59 p.m.: Norway’s Hovland is early leader at Masters
AUGUSTA, Ga, - Norway’s Viktor Hovland has raced to the early first round lead at the Masters at 5-under par through nine holes on an 81-degree day at Augusta National.
Hovland is one of 16 golfers under par with the afternoon groups set to tee off.
He has seven career wins but has never won at major, eagled the par-5 second hole to gain some early momentum and followed with birdies at Nos. 6, 8 and 9 to record a 31 on the front nine.
Hovland is playing in the same threesome with Tiger Woods, who is seven shots back at 2 over.
Spain’s Jon Rahm is in second, having finished the first nine holes.
12:58 p.m.: Photo gallery | Great shots from Round 1
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Here’s a look at some of the action from the course today in Round 1:
12:26 p.m.: Tiger having a tough day so far
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Tiger Woods is off to a rough start at the Masters.
The 47-year-old five-time champion is 2 over after five holes following bogeys at the par 4 third and fifth holes. Woods has fallen five shots behind leader Cameron Young, who leads the field at 3 under.
Woods is competing in his 25th Masters.
MORE FROM NEWS 12:
- Woods and his limp are back at Masters, but for how much longer?
- Tiger Woods says his joy for golf is different now, but it’s still there
- Tiger continues to draw big roars with a touch of nostalgia
He opened with a par on the first in front of a huge crowd, many stacked rows deep standing on tippy toes hoping to catch a glimpse of the generational star.
Even before Woods took to the course, fans flocked to see him on the practice tee.
The five-time champion admitted earlier this week he’s not sure how many more Masters tournaments he has in him.
Woods, who walks with noticeable limp at times, is still recovering from a car crash in suburban Los Angeles where he crushed bones so badly in his legs that doctors contemplated amputation.
Woods has only played in one PGA Tour event this year, the Genesis Invitational, where he finished tied for 45th place at 1-under 283. He last won the Masters in 2019.
12:16 p.m.: Tiger’s tale about the 16th green
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Players often notice subtle changes to Augusta National, real or imagined, that are not recorded as official updates. One of them might be the 16th green. Masters records indicate the last change was in 1973 when the left section of the pond was filled.
Not according to Tiger Woods.
He says the green has been redesigned since his famous chip-in in 2005 on the par 3. The topic came up this week when he was asked if he had ever tried to replicate the shot, in which he pitched it up the slope and watched it make a U-turn, trickle down, pause on the edge of the cup and drop for birdie.
“Yeah, the green has changed. There is a new back, deeper hole location there that they tried to fit,” Woods said. “But my chip there in 2005 is not the same. The green is not the same as it was then.”
Woods doesn’t pay attention to the chip, anyway. He says when he sees a replay of that iconic shot, he tries to figure out how he got there in the first place.
“I did not draw a bad lie on that tee shot to hit it that bad,” he said. “If you want to go back and see the chip, OK, that’s cool. But to hit an 8-iron that bad and that far off line, and I had a perfect lie, was not very good.”
11:43 a.m.: A fond farewell to 2 Masters champions
AUGUSTA, Ga. - We reported earlier this week that Larry Mize and Sandy Lyle announced this will be their last Masters.
We’ll miss them.
Mize is a local – the first Augusta native to win the Masters back in 1987 when he holed a 140-foot chip from right of the 11th green in the second hole of a playoff to beat Greg Norman in 1987.
The next year, Lyle hit 7-iron from the fairway bunker on the 18th hole to 10 feet and made the birdie putt to win.
“As they were in 1988, when Larry presented the green jacket to Sandy, they are connected again this week,” Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley said. “We commend them for their fine play over four decades and for representing the Masters so well. Rest assured, their victories will forever be remembered.”
This is Mize’s 40th consecutive Masters, while Lyle was part of the “Big Five” from Europe who once seemingly ruled the Masters. Lyle, Bernhard Langer, Seve Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam and Nick Faldo combined to win nine times between 1980 and 1996, including a stretch of seven wins in 12 years.
The news was shared at the Champions Dinner on Tuesday night.
“Larry got a little emotional,” two-time champion Jose Maria Olazabal said. “He had a hard time trying to speak. Actually, he didn’t. It was a very emotional dinner. So it was nice.”
11:35 a.m.: Players continue to keep their eyes on the skies
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Patrons and news crews like us aren’t the only ones keeping an eye on the weather forecast.
While the opening round today is warm, with highs in the mid-80s, rain is expected to move through here on Friday. With it comes a cold front, dropping highs into the 50s, and there is a near-100% chance of rain this weekend.
“I think it will be a long week,” Patrick Cantlay said. “Usually when there’s weather, the rounds drag on and it looks like there may be some delays as well. I imagine the golf course will play particularly long this year.”
That also doesn’t bode well for players such as Tiger Woods, whose bodies get a bit creaky when temperatures take a dive.
Asked whether he’d seen the forecast, Woods replied: “Oh, yeah. I’ve seen it.”
11:31 a.m.: A lot of talk about rolling back the ball
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Besides the 13th hole and the weather, golf ball modifications are big topic this week at Augusta National.
Chairman Fred Ridley mentioned it during his news conference Tuesday, and the honorary starters talked about it during their news conference this morning.
There’s a USGA and R&A proposal for a modified local rule rolling back the golf ball.
It would mean tournaments could choose to require a different ball, and use it to curtail distance by about 15 yards, and it’s clear the U.S. Open and British Open will go along. It’s not a done deal, though, as the comment period goes through the Masters.
“Our position has always been that we support the governing bodies,” Ridley said of the Masters. “I think, in a general sense, we do support the proposal, but because it’s in the middle of a comment period, it could change. ... So we will look at the final product and make a decision.
“We believe distance needs to be addressed,” Ridley added. “I think the natural conclusion is, yes, we will be supportive.”
11:22 a.m.: LIV golfers generating some betting in Vegas
AUGUSTA, Ga. - This is something you wouldn’t expect because LIV Golf doesn’t attract as much betting as PGA ...
But in Las Vegas, Westgate SuperBook golf oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said his company’s properties have taken quite a bit of money on whether one of the LIV golfers will win this weekend.
And “interestingly enough, we’ve been writing a decent amount of handle already on the best finish out of the LIV golfers,” Sherman said.
10:24 a.m.: Kevin Na exits Masters
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Less than two and a half hours into the Masters, Kevin Na has withdrawn.
The LIV golfer had teed off at 8 a.m.
Augusta National said he withdrew due to illness after completing nine holes.
9:59 a.m.: Things to keep an eye on as Masters gets started
AUGUSTA, Ga. - From the renegade LIV tour to Scottie Scheffler’s bid for a second straight green jacket to an elongated 13th hole, there’s a lot to talk about as the Masters Tournament gets underway today at Augusta National Golf Club.
Here are some things to watch for over the next four days:
- The Big Three: Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and perhaps Jon Rahm
- The remade 13th hole, nicknamed “Azalea.”
- Tiger Woods
- The unpredictable weather
9:31 a.m.: How Tom Watson injured his shoulder
AUGUSTA, Ga. - If you watched the Masters’ honorary starter ceremony, you may have noticed Tom Watson’s quip that he didn’t use his normal hand to tee up with.
“You don’t ride go-karts at my age,” he joked. Then he added, “Yeah, you do,” to the crowd’s delight.
In case you missed it, the always humbled and good-humored Watson told News 12′s Meredith Anderson in an interview this week that he’d injured his shoulder in a go-kart accident.
He built a go-kart track for his grandkids on his farm, “and just being me, I was trying to go as fast as I possibly could,” he said. “I went around a corner and turned it over and stick my arm out and ruined my shoulder, and now it’s got a prosthesis in there.”
9:05 a.m.: The field of competitors, by the numbers
AUGUSTA, Ga. - There are 104 invitees and a starting field of 88 players for the 2023 Masters Tournament.
There are 16 first-time players, consisting of seven amateurs and nine professionals.
On the first two days of play, each amateur is paired in a group with a Masters champion.
In addition, 22 honorary non-participating Invitees are expected in attendance.
9:02 a.m.: Things to know about the first hole
8:55: More from the honorary starters
AUGUSTA, Ga. - The honorary starters’ news conference wrapped up around 8:30 a.m.
Here are some of the highlights:
The players discussed at length the lengthening of the 13th hole, and whether there should be changes in balls to prevent them from traveling as far, as is being considered.
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- Honorary start is ‘icing on the cake’ for golf great Tom Watson
- A one-on-one interview with golfing great Tom Watson
Watson noted that to lengthen the 13th hole, “Augusta National had to go in and buy the land to extend that hole; they spent a lot of money on that land. .. Now how’s that hole going to play?” He said, “I think it’s a very good thing” to create a ball that doesn’t go as far. Watson said he thinks it’s best to have a ball that’s for pros and another ball for amateurs.
Nicklaus noted that last time the ball size was changed, the old ball was grandfathered in for eight to 10 to 10 years. He said he thinks it’s “fine” to create a ball that’s just for pros and then, “Let’s see what happens.” He noted that the farther the ball goes, the longer it takes to play the game, and it’s important to keep the game length reasonable.
They were asked about the biggest changes they’ve seen at Augusta National through the years.
Watson says it’s the differences in the green.
Player said technology has driven a lot of changes, from lawn mowers to the vehicle you use to get to the course.
“The greens today are like a snooker table,” he said. “You can’t compare different eras, it’s a completely different game.”
The players were asked about stories from past Champions Dinners.
Nicklaus said he was impressed last year with Player making a speech last year in Japanese and the previous year’s winner, Hideki Matsuyama, giving a speech in English.
Nicklaus noted that despite much talk about potential tension between LIV and PGA players, there was “zero” tension at this year’s Champions Dinner. He called it “the most cordial experience” ever.
Player recalled a Champions Dinner when he had a chance to interact with Augusta National co-founder Bobby Jones, complaining that he could never seem to birdie the third hole.
Jones replied: “You’re not supposed to birdie the third hole.”
8:40 a.m.: The allure of the green jacket
AUGUSTA, Ga. - A lot of times when we talk about the green jacket, we’re speaking figuratively of what the green jacket stands for.
Twice now this week, a reporter has asked questions at news conferences about the actual, physical green jacket in literal and very specific terms. Things like: How well does the jacket fit? Is it tailored? What are the measurements?
The first time was Wednesday during the chairman’s news conference, and the second was Thursday during the honorary starters’ news conference.
The reporter asked the honorary starters: “The green jacket specifically, could each of you share a story about your green jacket, the actual jacket.”
And they told their stories.
8:30 a.m.: Nicklaus fields a political question
AUGUSTA, Ga. - A reporter asked Jack Nicklaus if he’d support Donald Trump for president as he did in the last election.
Nicklaus said: “We’ll have to see what happens ... I’ve always supported what I felt was the best candidate,” and he felt that Trump was the best candidate in the 2020 election. Nicklaus said he’s voted for Democrats and Republicans, and “I try to pick the person who’ll do the best job for country.”
8:13 a.m.: Honorary starters speak at news conference
AUGUSTA, Ga. - The three honorary starters are fielding questions at a news conference right now.
They were asked about some of the life lessons they’ve learned at Augusta.
Gary Player said he’s learned “gratitude that we have the opportunity to play in a tournament of this stature.”
Jack Nicklaus said he learned how to putt, after discovering that was one of his deficiencies.
Tom Watson said: “How lucky I am to be able to play a game like this ... to be able to play with and try to compete with my heroes ... the ability to play a game for a living. You all work for a living; I get to play a game for a living.”
8 a.m.: First players tee off
AUGUSTA, Ga. - LIV golfer Kevin Na and 2003 champion Mike Weir launched their drives down the first fairway at Augusta National, signaling the official start of the 87th Masters.
Na is one of 18 players from the polarizing Saudi Arabia-backed golf league participating in the event, which is almost certain to make this a tournament unlike any other.
7:56 a.m.: A look at tee times
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Here’s a look at some of the key tee times in the Masters:
- 2022 champion Scottike Scheffler tees off at 1:36 p.m.
- Phil Mickelson is teeing off at 12:24 p.m. in the second afternoon group. He’s back after missing last year’s tournament.
- Rory McIlroy’s quest to complete the career grand slam will begin at 1:48.
- Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas are together this year at 10:42 a.m. Rahm is one of the favorites to put on the green jacket this year.
- At 10:54 a.m. are Masters champ Hideki Matsuyama and Cameron Smith. Both have had a track record of putting on a show here in Augusta over the years.
- Masters score record holder Dustin Johnson will be teeing off at 1:12 p.m.
- Matthew Fitzpatrick, Colin Morikawa and Will Zalatoris will be walking Augusta National together at 1:24 p.m.
- Then the final group of the day at 2 p.m. will keep you on the edge of your seat: Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood and Tony Finau.
7:47 a.m.: The Masters Tournament has begun
AUGUSTA, Ga. - “The 2023 Masters is now officially underway. Enjoy the tournament,” Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley declares after Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson drive the first balls as honorary starters.
MORE FROM NEWS 12:
- Honorary start is ‘icing on the cake’ for golf great Tom Watson
- A one-on-one interview with golfing great Tom Watson
Player was greeted on the tee with a smile by Masters Chairman Fred Ridley a week after the tournament’s first international champion told the Times of London he did not feel welcome at Augusta National. Player said he had to “beg a member to play with us” when he wanted to play a round with family members,” and that “if it wasn’t for the players, it would be just another golf course in Georgia.”
Nicklaus, who walked with a noticeable limp, joked with the crowd before bending over to put his tee in the ground saying. “that’s the hardest part.”
Watson, with his shoulder still aching from a go-kart accident, joked that he didn’t use his normal hand to tee up with.
“You don’t ride go-karts at my age,” he joked. Then he added, “Yeah, you do.”
He’s told News 12 earlier about suffering shoulder injuries after riding a go-kart of a track he’d built for his grandkids on his farm.
7:35 a.m.: 3 giants of golf serve as honorary starters
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson will serve as the honorary starters this morning for the 2023 Masters Tournament.
The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 7:40 a.m. on the No. 1 tee.
Nicklaus, Player and Watson – who were also last year’s honorary starters – combined are the winners of 11 Masters Tournaments and have made 140 tournament appearances.
The custom of having honorary starters began in 1963 with Jock Hutchison (1963-1973) and Fred McLeod (1963-1976) performing the duties. Byron Nelson (1981-2001, non-consecutive), Gene Sarazen (1981-1999), Ken Venturi (1983), Sam Snead (1984-2002), Arnold Palmer (2007-2016), Nicklaus (2010-present), Player (2012-present), Lee Elder (2021) and Watson (2022-present) have continued the tradition.
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