Here we all are again, then, back at Augusta! It’s only been five months since Dustin Johnson won The One In November, so in that context we’re being somewhat spoiled. But it’s been two years since the last Masters in its traditional April setting, and two years since the patrons have been in situ, so you can be forgiven if you’ve been Bobby Jonesing for the most glamorous golf show on earth. It’s back, baby. Can you wait? Us neither.
Tiger won that last April Masters, in those heady, carefree days of 2019. His awful accident means he won’t be here this year; here’s to the great man rebuilding his health and completing yet another fairytale comeback. A sixth Masters in 2022? Hey, we’re allowed to dream. As for the winner of this one … well, the field is crowded, and there’s plenty of cream rising to the top.
DJ is favourite, as he strives to become the first man to retain the title since Tiger in 2002. Before that, it was Nick Faldo in 1990; before him, it was Jack in 1966. This sort of thing doesn’t happen often. If anyone can do it, the easy-going South Carolinian can.
But there are plenty enough people with the game, the moxie, the temperament and the sheer start quality to stop him. The US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau. The new Players champion Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, back in the winners’ circle last week at the Texas Open after four fallow years on Tour. Brooks Koepka, the four-time major winner just pipped by Tiger the last time we were here in April. The PGA champ Collin Morikawa. Perennial major bridesmaids Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Lee Westwood and Paul Casey. Rory? Sergio? Sergio! A resurgent Sergio! We could go on for some time, but what would be the point? There aren’t too many no-hopers in this field.
We’ll get underway here at 2pm BST, which translates as 9am in Georgia. Make yourself a pimento cheese sandwich, pour a long cool glass of iced tea, and settle down. It’s going to be a long four days, yet it’ll whizz by in a flash. It’s the 85th edition of the Masters Tournament. It’s back where it belongs, at the start of April. It’s on!
Until then, the tee times … (USA unless stated, all times local, +5hrs BST):
(a) denotes amateurs
08:00 Michael Thompson, Hudson Swafford
08:12 Sandy Lyle (Sco), Matt Jones (Aus), Dylan Frittelli (Rsa)
08:24 Ian Woosnam (Wal), Jim Herman, Stewart Cink
08:36 Sebastian Munoz (Col), Henrik Stenson (Swe), Robert Streb
08:45 Bernhard Langer (Ger), Will Zalatoris, Joe Long (a)
09:00 Brian Harman, Ian Poulter (Eng), Brendan Todd
09:12 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), Si Woo Kim (Kor), Corey Conners (Can)
09:24 Danny Willet (Eng), Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Kevin Kisner
09:36 Jason Day (Aus), Matthew Wolff, Cameron Champ
09:48 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Harris English, Abraham Ancer (Mex)
10:06 Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland (Nor)
10:18 Sergio Garcia (Spa), Webb Simpson, Chirstiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa)
10:30 Dustin Johnson, Lee Westwood (Eng), Tyler Strafaci (a)
10:42 Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm (Spa), Rory McIlroy (NIrl)
10:54 Patrick Reed, Daniel Berger, Paul Casey (Eng)
11:06 Vijay Singh (Fij), Martin Laird (Sco)
11:18 Larry Mize, Jimmy Walker, Brian Gay
11:30 Carlos Ortiz (Mex), Mackenzie Hughes (Can), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut)
11:42 Mike Weird (Can), C.T. Pan (Tpe), Robert MacIntyre (Sco)
11:54 Jose Maria Olazabal (Spa), Matt Wallace (Eng), Lanto Griffin
12:12 Victor Perez (Fra), Jason Kokrak, Marc Leishman (Aus)
12:24 Fred Couples, Francesco Molinari (Ita), Charles Osborne (a)
12:36 Zach Johnson, Kevin Na, Gary Woodland
12:48 Shane Lowry (Irl), Justin Rose (Eng), Matt Kuchar
13:00 Billy Horschel, Tyrell Hatton (Eng), Ryan Palmer
13:12 Phil Mickelson, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng), Scottie Scheffler
13:24 Patrick Cantlay, Sungjae Im (Kor), Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng)
13:36 Adam Scott (Aus), Bryson DeChambeau, Max Homa
13:48 Tony Finau, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Justin Thomas
14:00 Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith (Aus), Collin Morikawa