Wearing black from head to toe, Tiger Woods stepped to the tee at Masters Tournament for the first time in three years on Thursday morning. He promptly sent his drive left into the gallery.
Woods would recover nicely, sending his second shot rolling up to the green, but it was that type of morning. A birdie at the par-4 third hole was followed by a bogey at the par-3 No. 4 — at 16 over for his career, it’s been his Augusta nemesis — and then another at No. 5.
How to watch Masters Tournament 2018
This week isn’t just about Woods. Many of the world’s best players enter the week in strong form. Add in the Woods intrigue, and you’ll want to know how to watch starting Thursday morning, a tricky proposition, since this is the tightly controlled Masters 2018. Still, there are a few options. (All times are Eastern.)
- ESPN has live TV coverage from 3 until 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and on WatchESPN. As of around 11:30 a.m. Eastern, the network was showing Woods’s shots on a delayed basis.
- CBS takes over on TV from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday and from 2 to 7 p.m. (or the conclusion of play) Sunday. Its online coverage can be found at CBS AllAccess. The network will have a preview show (“On the Range”) 8:30-10:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday on CBS Sports Network and CBSSports.
- CBSSports will also have live streams of featured groups, as well as coverage from Amen Corner (holes 11, 12, 13) and holes 15 and 16. Featured group coverage starts at roughly 10 a.m. Thursday; Amen Corner coverage begins at 10:45 a.m. and holes 15 and 16 coverage begins at 11:45. Consult the full live stream schedule here.
- The Golf Channel has “Morning Drive” on TV and online from 6 to 8 a.m. Thursday and Friday, and “Live from the Masters” on TV and online beginning at 8 a.m.
- AT&T/DIRECTV has coverage of featured groups, Amen Corner and the 15th and 16th holes starting at 3 p.m. each day (at 2 p.m. Sunday) on Channels 703, 704 and 705. There’s a 4K package from Amen Corner on Channel 105 and the 15th and 16th holes on Channel 106 starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday and Friday; at noon Saturday and Sunday for Amen Corner and 12:30 for the 15th and 16th holes. You also can stream the coverage.
- Masters offers much of the same live coverage, too.
The full list of tee times for Thursday and Friday is here, along with breakdowns of the top groups.
Woods, one of the betting favorites to win his fifth Masters, will be followed on the tee at 10:53 by Sergio Garcia, the 2017 champion, and his group of Justin Thomas and 20-year-old amateur and Clemson sophomore Doc Redman.
Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar will tee off at 1:27 p.m. A trio of international stars in Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm will tee off at 1:38 p.m. Jordan Spieth’s group will tee off at 1:49 p.m. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is in the day’s final group, teeing off at 2 p.m.; he’ll play with Justin Rose and Rafael Cabrera-Bello.
The weather report
Temperatures climbed to the 60s on a sunny Thursday afternoon, and it will remain sunny and should be even warmer Friday, though the winds will pick up a bit. Saturday’s third round could get a little dicey with rain and even more wind in the forecast, especially in the morning. Whether it will be enough to halt play remains to be seen, but it very well could. The wet weather should help soften Augusta’s notoriously tricky greens.
The skies will clear a bit for Sunday’s final round, though it will be cool with highs in the mid-60s.
The Post’s Barry Svrluga identifies five players who could win this weekend, including Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, and yes, Woods. Who could win but won’t? Jason Day heads that list. Read the rest of Svrluga’s breakdown here. The Post’s Neil Greenberg, meantime, gives the highest win probabilities to Johnson, Justin Thomas and Garcia. His explanation is here. Josh Planos analyzes which six holes may decide Woods’s fate.
You might want to wait until the end of the first round to make your choice. As Kyle Porter of CBS Sports points out, the last 12 Masters winners have been in the top 10 after the first 18 holes. The last one outside the top 10? Woods, who was tied for 30th after the first round in 2005 before storming back to win his fourth and most recent Green Jacket.
Although a report earlier this week indicated that Masters officials were threatening to expel fans who yelled anything from a list of banned phrases, like “Dilly Dilly” or (we hope) “get in the hole,” but a Yahoo investigation reveals that there is no list. Which means that those phrases, and perennial favorites like “mashed potatoes” and “Baba Booey” still might randomly echo across Augusta.
“Yelling ‘Get in the hole’ from the tee box of a par five might get a hole punched in your badge — two punches and you’re gone — or it might get you heaved out of the course with no warning. Same with a group chant,” the report states.