Masters tee times moved up Sunday due to weather
April 13, 2019
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- April 13, 2019
- Tee times for the final round at Augusta National have moved up on Sunday due to expected severe weather. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, Ga. – A severe weather forecast for Sunday afternoon has prompted Masters officials to move up the tee times for the final round at Augusta National.
The field of 65 players who made the cut will play in threesomes off two tees (Nos. 1 and 10) starting at 7:30 a.m. ET. The final threesome of 54-hole leader Francesco Molinari, Tiger Woods and Tony Finau will tee off at 9:20 a.m. Final-round coverage on CBS will be live beginning at 9 a.m. ET.
The schedule adjustment puts a different spin on the usual Sunday preparations for contending players at Augusta National.
Woods, tied with Finau for second, two strokes behind Molinari, said he plans to get up no later than 4 a.m to "start the process of getting this body ready."
"Going to be a little different," Woods said. "Doesn't feel like Augusta National."
Molinari, meanwhile, will set his alarm for 6 a.m. "Probably going to be dark when I wake up tomorrow," the Italian said.
But he doesn't seem fazed by the schedule change. "Just do the normal routine," he said. "We play early every week on TOUR, so we’re used to it."
Finau recalled being in the final group last year at the U.S. Open with a late tee time. "It was like the longest day of my life and I still hadn't teed off," he said after his 64.
Thus, he doesn't mind the early wake-up call. "I do think that's nice, not waiting around 'til three o'clock to tee off, kind of twiddling your thumbs."
In the latest weather forecast issued by the tournament, a broken line of strong to severe thunderstorms – with potential for heavy rain and strong winds -- is expected to reach the Augusta area at approximately 4 p.m. before pushing East by 7 p.m. Winds will increase ahead of the storms, with gusts expected to reach 25-30 mph later in the day. There is a 70% chance of thunderstorms.
“The safety of everyone on our grounds is paramount,” said Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley in a press bulletin released Saturday afternoon. “We also believe the earlier start will give us the best opportunity to complete the Masters on Sunday.
“This decision should benefit everyone – the players, our patrons and our fans watching around the world. Given the competitiveness and drama of this year’s tournament, we look forward to an exciting conclusion tomorrow.”
Despite the schedule adjustment, players may still encounter some weather issues, with a 30% chance of morning showers and isolated thunderstorms Sunday, along with winds in the 15-mph range.
Webb Simpson, who moved into contention after shooting an 8-under 64 that leaves him at 9 under, is hoping for weather to make an impact.
“I like that there’s weather coming in,” Simpson said prior to the schedule adjustment. “I like that it’s going to be windy and tricky. I think that it’s better for me because I’m assuming I’m going to be a few back still after today going into the final round, so I think a little bit of wind and trickiness helps.”
Rickie Fowler said avoiding the nasty weather will be a plus.
“We have been dealing with mud balls pretty much all week, so I'm going to pray for clean golf balls in the fairway and we'll go at it from there,” said Fowler, 7 under after a 68 on Saturday. “But obviously it's been amazing week here, I think to dodge the storms as much as we have and hopefully we can play early like we are tomorrow and get this thing in before anything hits.”
The Masters has finished on a Monday just five times, most recently in 1983 when Seve Ballesteros won his second green jacket.