Will heavy rain push the Masters to Monday? Not a chance, a superintendent says

the scoreboard at the masters

If you’re worried that foul weather might push the 2023 Masters to a Monday finish, don’t.

Neither rain, nor cold, nor thunderclaps will keep the tournament from wrapping on Sunday, a superintendent who is volunteering on the grounds crew told Golf.com

“The bottom line is that where two to four inches of rain in a 24-hour period would create havoc at another tournament, at the Masters, it barely causes a shrug,” said the superintendent, who asked to remain anonymous. 

He said his confidence stems largely from Augusta National’s famously extensive SubAir system, an underground network of moisture-and-air-regulating machines that can drain turf dry in roughly the time that it takes to wash down a pimento cheese sandwich. The club has SubAir under all of its greens, many collars and approaches, and under low-lying areas of fairways, too. The new tee on the par-5 13th hole, which is shaded by a cathedral of pines, has SubAir as well.

“Basically, anywhere they need, they have it,” the superintendent said. 

Throw in a state-of-the-art drainage system and squadrons of squeegee-wielding maintenance workers and—well, the green jackets can’t control the weather, but they can handle it better than most anyone else. 

For rain alone to delay play at Augusta National, the superintendent said, more than 4 inches would have to fall within 24 hours, and even then, the course could probably handle it. The current forecast calls for roughly 1.3 inches over the next 48 hours.

That’s not enough to stop the show, the superintendent said.

Thunderstorms are a different story. Those are in the forecast, too. If there’s lightning in the area, the horn will blow. But here again, Augusta National has an advantage. The limited field at the Masters gives the tournament more leeway with tee times than most events enjoy. Already, Augusta National has made adjustments, pushing up Friday’s second-round starting times by 30 minutes.

More rain is expected on Saturday. And don’t get him wrong, the superintendent said. Conditions will get soft by Augusta National standards, making the course play longer but also leaving it more susceptible to attack. 

The superintendent said that the green jackets are ready for this, too, and are apt to defend the course by switching some hole locations.

“They will move some things around to change the playability,” he said.

All these preparations will start hours before daybreak. The superintendent said that his Friday call time was 2:30 a.m., when he and scores of other volunteers will get to work.

In each of the last four Masters, play has been delayed by inclement weather. But not since 1983 has the tournament spilled over into Monday. 

You can count on that 40-year streak to continue, the superintendent said. The tournament will end on Sunday evening, so if want to skip work the following morning, you’ll need to find another excuse.