Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tiger Woods.
- With inclement weather in the Augusta forecast on Sunday, the final round of the Masters will feature a scheduling change, as players will tee off in threesomes at split tees between 7:30 and 9:20 a.m. ET.
- Though that should keep them ahead of the worst of the weather, which is expected to be in the late afternoon and early evening, there is still a chance of storms and high winds earlier in the day.
On Wednesday, I initially saw some inclement conditions in the forecast for Sunday’s final round. You know how weather forecasts go, though — often times they are incorrect.
That’s especially the case when you’re looking ahead several days, as there’s plenty of time for systems to shift hundreds of miles, strengthen, weaken, etc.
However, what I saw back on Wednesday is more or less the same as what I see now. In fact, it’s so bad that the folks at Augusta decided to do the unthinkable.
With thunderstorms, potentially severe, expected to be in the area in the afternoon, they opted for this drastic schedule change rather than risk finishing play on Monday.
The chance of rain/storms is worst between 3 and 7 p.m. ET, which would have been right when the leaders were set to play.
This schedule change doesn’t put players completely in the clear, though, as there is still a smaller chance of storms in the mid-morning and early afternoon.
Winds will start out at about 10 mph when the first groups are going off and gradually increase to a steady 15-18 mph in the afternoon. There will also be considerable gusts potentially upwards of 30 mph that could definitely impact some shots.
What the schedule change means for bettors
By Jason Sobel
With Sunday tee times moved up and a two-tee final-round start for the first time in Masters history, we should be seeking ways to put this information to our advantage.
Problem is, I don’t think there’s an edge here.
In fact, there’s less of an edge than regular final-round schedules. Instead of tee times spaced out throughout the entire day, they’ll be bunched within a 110-minute span. That should mean similar weather patterns for every player in the field – nobody will enjoy less wind or rain than anyone else.
If anything, perhaps players are a bit more aggressive than usual, just because of the frenzied situation, which leaves less ability to sit back and leaderboard-watch.
Course setup shouldn’t vary much from Saturday, when we witnessed more players shoot 64 – one off the course record – than ever before in a single Masters round. It should remain just a bit soft, especially with all players teeing off in the morning dew.
Traditionally, though, Sunday’s hole locations are a bit more difficult than those of Saturday, which elicited plenty of roars.
The truth is, the only edge I can offer here has nothing to do with the tee times: In every Masters since 1990, the eventual winner has been inside the top-five through 54 holes. Don’t expect a change in format to change this trend.