AUGUSTA, Ga. — The final round of the 83rd Masters is starting early.
With thunderstorms predicted for the Augusta, Ga., area on Sunday afternoon, the Masters on Saturday announced the use of split tees and early morning tee times for Sunday’s final round. Players will be grouped in threesomes with tee times beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Nos. 1 and 10. The leaders will tee off at 9:20 a.m.
Gates are scheduled to open at 7:15 a.m. and CBS will broadcast the final round live beginning at 9 a.m.
This move would prevent any potential Sunday delay and a possible Monday finish. (The last Monday finish was in 1983.)
The weather forecast for Sunday morning in Augusta, Ga., is cloudy with temps in the high 60s and low 70s with a 20 percent chance of rain and 14 mph winds. But isolated thunderstorms are expected to hit at noon, and scattered thunderstorms are predicted for 1-3 p.m. with the chance of rain rising from 35 percent at 1 p.m. to 60 percent at 3 p.m.
The forecast calls for thunderstorms from 3-6 p.m. with the chance of rain increasing to 85 percent between 4-6 p.m. and winds around 16 mph. Isolated and scattered thunderstorms are predicted for the rest of the evening with chances of rain hovering around 40 percent.
Webb Simpson confirmed after his Saturday round that players were told split-tee threesomes for Sunday were being considered, and the Masters committee made it official shortly after.
If for some reason a Monday finish is needed, the weather shouldn’t be an issue. The Monday forecast is sunny with no chance of rain and a high of 73.
“The safety of everyone on our grounds is paramount,” said Fred Ridley, the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters in a press release. “We also believe the earlier start will give us the best opportunity to complete the Masters on Sunday. This decision should benefit everyone – the players, our patrons and our fans watching around the world. Given the competitiveness and drama of this year’s tournament, we look forward to an exciting conclusion tomorrow.”