Everything you should know about a November Masters
April 07, 2020
By Sean Martin, Mike McAllister and Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- April 07, 2020
- The 12th hole at Augusta National Golf Club may look a bit different come November. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
The Masters in November – yeah, we know. Does not compute. But the coronavirus pandemic has created a new normal, even for a tournament that leans so heavily on its traditions.
Instead of its original first-round start on Thursday, the new first round is now Nov. 12. Instead of the Masters as the first major of the season, it will be the last of just three this year after the cancellation of the Open Championship. And instead of a green jacket … a green parka? (scratch that -- some things will never change.)
Here are answers to a few key questions about the Masters’ big scheduling switch to Nov. 12-15.
What’s the weather like in Augusta in November?
The 2007 Masters popped into people’s minds when the Masters’ move to November was made official. Zach Johnson won on a cold, windy week with a score of 1-over 289. It was the first over-par winning score at Augusta National in four decades.
Augusta’s high temperatures are, on average, about 10 degrees lower in November than during the Masters’ traditional month of April. In 2019, the tournament week saw high temperatures that ranged from 46 to 70 degrees.
The course will likely play longer and softer in November. That’s also because the north wind – which blows into the players on the first hole – also makes three of the course’s par 5s play into the wind. That means fewer players will be able to reach Nos. 8, 13 and 15 in two shots, and doing so will be riskier. That negates some of the long hitters’ advantage. Remember that Johnson famously laid up on all the par 5s when he won.
Here is a screenshot from weather.com on historical temperatures in Augusta.
What’s the daylight situation in November?
There will be approximately 2-1/2 hours less daylight at the November Masters compared to sunrise/sunset times this week (see chart below).
2020 APRIL sunrise/sunset ET NOV. sunrise/sunset ET Rd. 1 7:04 a.m. / 7:53 p.m. 6:57 a.m. / 5:26 p.m. Rd. 2 7:03 a.m. / 7:54 p.m. 6:57 a.m. / 5:26 p.m. Rd. 3 7:01 a.m. / 7:54 p.m. 6:58 a.m. / 5:25 p.m. Rd. 4 7:00 a.m. / 7:56 p.m. 6:53 a.m. / 5:24 p.m.
In 2019, the first tee time for the first two rounds was 8:30 a.m. ET, with the final one at 2 p.m. ET. Certainly the last tee time would need to be moved up in order to complete a full round each day. Thus, either play will start as soon as possible on the first two days, or two tees will be needed.
While the Masters generally doesn’t use a two-tee system to squeeze in play, it’s certainly wouldn’t be a first. In fact, in last year’s final round, two tees were used to avoid the threat of heavy afternoon rain. It was the first time in Masters history that two tees were used in the final round.
What will the field look like?
It shouldn’t be much different in November than it would’ve been this week. In his statement released Monday, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said, “We intend to invite those professionals and amateurs who would have qualified for our original April date.”
That means the 92 golfers who had already secured their spots will still be eligible to play. If the Masters decides to include others in the world top 50 on the original cutoff date of March 30, then Collin Morikawa, Scottie Scheffler, Christian Bezuidenhout and Graeme McDowell would also qualify. The Original World Golf Ranking was frozen on March 15 after the first wave of PGA TOUR events were canceled.
Once the golf world resumes its schedule, players who win events between then and the Masters evidently will qualify for the 2021 Masters in its regular April slot – but not the November Masters.
"We would not be adding players to the field between now and the November event," an Augusta National spokesperson told the Golf Channel. "Those would be picked up by the 2021 tournament, per our usual qualifications."
One of the players who’ll be playing in November is Max Homa, who qualified by winning the Wells Fargo Championship just weeks after last year’s Masters. He’s not worried about the weather for his first Masters appearance.
U know what helps on a cold November day in Augusta, Georgia? A brand new green jacket— max homa (@maxhoma23) April 6, 2020
How has Tiger fared in November?
In his PGA TOUR career, Tiger Woods has played 12 events that have ended at some point in the month of November. His only win came in 1999 at the World Golf Championships tournament (now the WGC-Mexico Championship) in Valderrama, Spain. It was the last of four consecutive wins Tiger enjoyed in a year in which he posted nine victories. His last TOUR start in November was 10 years ago at the 2010 WGC-HSBC Champions when he finished T6.
Of those 12 starts, eight came at the TOUR Championship prior to the advent of the FedExCup Playoffs. His lone pre-FedExCup TOUR Championship win ended on Oct. 31, 1999, so it is not included in his November wins.
He’s also made 14 worldwide starts in November, with four wins – the last of which was the 2009 Australian Masters. Thus, a combined total of 26 starts with five wins. None of his starts include his Hero World Challenge, which finishes in early December.
Thus, if he successfully repeats as Masters champ, this would be his first pro win in November on American soil.
Are there azaleas in November?
Augusta National was carved out of the 365-acre Fruitland Nursey, operated by the Berckmans family from 1858-1918. The nursery was known for having a wide variety of peach trees, but the Belgian family also imported and introduced a lot of other fruit and ornamental plants to the area.
Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts bought the property in 1931 and hired Alister Mackenzie to create Augusta National. The Berckmans’ home became the clubhouse. There are more than 80,000 plants of 350 varieties on the hilly landscape and each of the 18 holes is named for one that is prominent there.
Every April, bountiful azaleas in brilliant hues -- Augusta National has 30 different varieties -- share center stage with the world’s best golfers. In November, maybe not so much.
However, encore azaleas bloom three times a year, so if that’s the kind Augusta National has planted, we might be surprised. And the powers-that-be have been known to bring extra azaleas in when an early spring or late frost means the color display is less than optimal.
But the dogwoods and magnolias that are also synonymous with Augusta National, as well as wisteria, bloom in the spring, while jasmine can last until October. The camellias, which flower from early August to late spring, could provide some extra color, though.
The Japanese maples likely will do the same – the peak fall season for leaves in Georgia is from mid-to-late October to early November. Redbud trees turn yellow in the fall, too. So, there could be color, it will just be a different look.
You can bet the folks at Augusta National have the finest horticulturists on speed dial.
Masters vs. football: Who ya got?
The PGA TOUR is used to playing during the fall football season, of course. The fall portion of the schedule calls for tournaments in September, October and November. But the Masters has always been a spring event, and so it’ll be interesting to see how it will fare against football when it comes to the average sports fan.
In the state of Georgia that Saturday, Nov. 14, both the University of Georgia (vs. Tennessee) and Georgia Tech (vs. Notre Dame) will be at home. The NFL has yet to release its schedule for the 2020 season.
Perhaps just as intriguing, CBS has contracts with both the Masters and the NFL -- and the lead voice for both is Jim Nantz. Will he be in Butler Cabin late Sunday, or in a broadcast booth with partner Tony Romo at an NFL game? Obviously, we’d like to think golf takes precedence so … “Hello, friends.”