Australia’s Adam Scott hopes to slip on the legendary green jacket for a second straight year as the 2014 Masters begins first round action Thursday morning from Augusta National Golf Club.
The 33-year-old shot a nine-under 279 and bested Angel Cabrera in a two-hole playoff to win the first major of his career, and the first Masters title for his nation last year.
Tiger Woods was the last player to win consecutive Masters titles back in 2002, but the once-dominate American opted to undergo back surgery rather than play this year at Augusta, where he’s won four total times in his career.
After Woods, only two others have won back-to-back Masters. England’s Nick Faldo completed the feat back in 1989 and 1990, and Jack Nicklaus took the 1965 and 1966 titles.
Another win would certainly lift Scott into a rarified stratosphere, but even with the always-dangerous Woods out he has to overcome perennial favorites like Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and American Phil Mickelson, along with current PGA win-leaders Jimmy Walker and Patrick Reed, to say nothing of a notoriously challenging course.
Over the next four days players will have to navigate the bunkers flanking the fairway on the 455-yard, par-4 No. 5 hole, the pond protecting the green on the 505-yard No. 11 hole, as well as the tilting green at the end of the 495-yard No. 10.
The weather conditions should be in every player’s favor this year, with the skies expected to be mostly clear and temperatures reaching no higher than the low-80s. Weather has been an issue numerous times at Augusta, but according to the club’s official site an entire round hasn’t been cancelled since 1983 when the tournament ended on a Monday.
Of the 33 total groups set to take on Augusta, the first group will be American Stewart Cink and South Africa’s Tim Clark at 7:45 a.m. EST.
Scott tees off at 10:41 a.m. EST with American Jason Dufner, and England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick. Dufner’s best showing at the Masters came last year when he was tied for 20th, while Fitzpatrick makes his first trip to storied Augusta after winning last year’s U.S. Amateur title.
Unfortunately for Fitzpatrick, a 19-year-old who formerly played at Northwestern and one of the six amateurs playing this week, his caddie won’t be by his side during the tournament. The Masters competition committee reportedly ruled his regular caddie, Lorne Duncan, could not wear sandals on the course despite an apparent foot condition.
Three-time Masters champion Mickelson will be part of a star-studded second-to-last group that includes two-time Augusta runner-up Ernie Els and last year’s U.S. Open champion Justin Rose. They will tee-off at 1:48 p.m. EST
Tee-Times: A full list of tee-times and pairings can be found here.
TV Channel: ESPN will air the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday, and CBS the last two rounds this weekend.
Time: TV coverage of the first, second and third round begins at 3 p.m. EST. The final round will be broadcast beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 13.
Leaderboard: Once the tournament is in full swing, keep up with all the action by viewing the real-time leaderboard here.