The 2020 Masters: Everything You Need To Know

The Masters
(Pic credit: Getty Images)

How could anyone forget Augusta National in April 2019 as Tiger Woods won his fifth Masters? It had been 11 years since his last major championship victory, numerous surgeries, and 14 years since his last Masters’ win.

He was set to attempt to tie Nicklaus record of six victories this April in 2020, but then COVID-19 changed that and turned golf and every other professional sport upside down.

Now 44 years old, if Woods were to earn back-to-back Green Jackets for the second time – he did it in 2001-02 – he would tie Nicklaus for most Masters victories with six.

On Thursday of the Players Championship in March 2020, after the first round, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced that not only was the tournament canceled, but golf on the Tour was as well until further notice.

That meant no Masters, (or postponed) no U.S. Open, and no Open Championship.  The PGA Championship is conducted by the PGA of America but they too canceled or postponed as was the case.

In the end, the Open Championship was the only major to be canceled because of travel restrictions across the pond.

Fast forward to June of this year and with many safety protocols in place, the PGA Tour returned, but without fans, or as the Masters refers to them, patrons.

Since then the PGA Championship was held, along with the U.S. Open, and now in November the Masters.

Yes, the Masters.

Of all the four majors, the Masters was the last one that many in golf thought could be salvaged.

Augusta National and the Masters is not your typical major. Tickets are arguably the hardest to secure in all of sports. The course is only open to members six months each year. How could they possibly hold the Masters in November, in colder weather, and on different grass, among other obstacles.

Augusta National is a course you cannot just join, you have to be invited to join. It keeps its membership roster private. Securing nuclear warhead codes are easier than finding out who belongs to this historic and majestic golf club. But it is known that it includes former U.S. President, CEOs of the world’s largest corporations, movers and shakers as they say. If anyone could do this, they could, and they have.

“We realize this decision impacted our friends and neighbors in Augusta, but the health and well-being of everyone involved took priority,” said Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters. “We have done our very best to create a safe environment that allows for the Masters to take place successfully, albeit differently than anyone would have imagined.”

This  Masters starts at 6:50 a.m. Thursday with Honorary Starters Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, nine Green Jackets between them, hitting ceremonial tee shots.

Ninety-two players from 23 countries, including six amateurs, comprise the field that shrank by two when Joaquin Niemann of Chile and Sergio Garcia of Spain, the 2017 champion, tested positive for COVID-19 and were forced to withdraw.

The 2020 Masters tee’s off Thursday, November 12 at 7:00 a.m. ET, with half the field on No. 1 and half on No. 10.

Split tees? Yes, another obstacle overcome. In November sunset is approximately 5:30 p.m. not 8:00 p.m. as in April.

So Tiger and 91 other players will get their chance to win the 2020 Masters, something unthinkable six months ago.

There will be some noticeable differences in addition to split tees.

No patrons. Approximately 1,000 people will be on the course, including players, officials, volunteers, media, Augusta National members, and the spouses of players.  That is all.

There will be just three concession stands, and only for volunteers. No pimento cheese sandwiches. No Masters souvenirs from the massive store on the grounds to take to friends and family.

No earth-shaking Tiger roars, or the deafening sound of Nicklaus making birdie on No 16 in 1986. that could be heard in Atlanta.

The beloved PAR 3 Contest was also canceled due to no patrons and health concerns.

If you were lucky enough to have tickets, you are allowed to order just two items from the store and online.

Some traditions are still there. The Tuesday night Champions dinner was held with Tiger selecting the menu. Some past champions chose not to attend due to travel and the risk associated with it and COVID-19.

Enough of what won’t be at the Masters. Let’s list what will be for you the fan, (excuse me), Patron while you watch via TV, smartphone, and online. Those possibilities have been increased by Augusta National to make sure we all are still able to enjoy the highlight of the golf year.

TV COVERAGE

For those watching traditional television, this is for you.

2020 Masters TV Schedule

ESPN and CBS will provide 18 hours of live broadcast coverage Thursday through Sunday, with a mid-afternoon finish scheduled for the final round.

Thursday, Nov. 12: 1-5:30 p.m. on ESPN

Friday, Nov. 13: 1-5:30 p.m. on ESPN

Saturday, Nov. 14: 1-5 p.m. on CBS

Sunday, Nov. 15: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on CBS

Notice the 3 p.m. finish.  Because of the early November sunset, tee times and split tees are being used. Also, CBS has a contractual obligation to show NFL games at 4 p.m.

Featured Groups Coverage

Masters digital platforms will stream a Featured Groups channel. This offering, which will begin approximately five minutes before the first Featured Group’s tee time, will provide 18-hole, spotlight coverage of select groupings.

On Masters.com and ESPN+

Thursday, April 12

  • 7:33 a.m. – Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen (No. 10 tee)
  • 7:55 a.m. – Tiger Woods, Shane Lowry, Andy Ogletree (No. 10 tee)
  • 11:27 a.m. – Bubba Watson, Matthew Wolff, Tommy Fleetwood (No. 10 tee)
  • 11:38 a.m. – Francesco Molinari, Billy Horschel, Cameron Smith (No. 10 tee)

ESPN+ also includes feeds of holes 4, 5, and 6, Amen Corner, and holes 15 and 16.

ESPN will also provide delayed coverage on Thursday and Friday on SportsCenter at the Masters from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The “Every Shot, Every Hole” feature which debuted in 2019 returns and will be supplemented by the debut of “My Group” that allows fans to build a personalized feed of every shot from their favorite players.

Click the link for tee times and the live leaderboard

Leaderboard And Tee Times

Last-minute ODDS TO WIN

Hope you enjoy The Masters. 

And remember, it returns in just five months, in April 2021!

Ron Mintz

@MintzGolf 

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