No lightning start to November Masters as storm threat disrupts first round
After a seven-month delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic, former champions Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus got the eagerly anticipated 84th Masters under way on Thursday.
But only 25 minutes of action was possible before play was suspended due to the threat of lightning.
Player and Nicklaus continued their role as honorary starters by each hitting a tee shot on the opening hole at Augusta National at 7am local time.
“I’m glad it was dark because you could not see where the ball went,” Nicklaus joked.
With the formalities out of the way and following a 10-minute delay due to darkness, American Lucas Glover got the tournament proper under way from the first tee, with 1988 winner Sandy Lyle doing so from the 10th.
A lack of daylight in November meant both tees have to be used over the opening two days to hopefully allow play to finish on time.
Unfortunately Thursday’s weather forecast included the possibility of heavy rain and isolated thunderstorms and the siren duly sounded to suspend play and call players back to the safety of the clubhouse.
After an 11-year wait, Tiger Woods won his 15th major championship and fifth Masters title at Augusta National in April last year, the 44-year-old finishing a shot ahead of Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele.
Almost 600 days later, Woods will attempt to defy the odds once more but the delay has done him few favours, the world number 33 managing a best of tied 37th in six events since the restart, the most recent of which was a tie for 72nd in a 78-man field in his defence of the Zozo Championship.
“I’ve (either) driven it well or hit my irons poorly,” Woods said. “Or I’ve put the ball-striking together and I haven’t putted well. I haven’t put all the pieces together and hopefully that will be this week.”
Remarkably Woods has not been the centre of attention in the build-up due to the big-hitting exploits of Bryson DeChambeau, who powered his way to a six-shot victory in the US Open in September.
“I can hit it as far as I want to, but it comes down to putting and chipping out here,” admitted the world number six, who shared the lead after an opening 66 last year before fading to 29th.
“I will say that I’m trying to look at it as I’m still an underdog to the field. Anybody can win this week. There’s a lot of unbelievable players out there.”
Collin Morikawa looking forward to having fans back in Japan
The American is racking up the miles as he contends at the start of the PGA Tour season and the end of the European Tour campaign.
Rory McIlroy’s 20 PGA Tour wins: From the breakthrough in 2010 to THE CJ CUP last week
The Northern Irishman was supreme at the weekend, holding off the challenge of Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa in Las Vegas.
Billy Horschel sets out to double prize money at event aimed at boosting diversity
The 34-year-old American hosted the inaugural Billy Horschel APGA Tour Invitational at Sawgrass in July.
Rory McIlroy claims 20th PGA title with victory in CJ Cup
The Northern Irishman put his Ryder Cup torment behind him to win by a stroke from Collin Morikawa.
Matt Fitzpatrick responds to Ryder Cup disappointment with Andalucia Masters win
The Yorkshireman was bogey-free in the final round at the notoriously difficult Valderrama.
Rory McIlroy two shots off the lead after sizzling 62 in Las Vegas
The Northern Irishman shot his lowest score since 2019 to take second place heading into the final round.
Rory McIlroy looking to kick on after emotional Ryder Cup
McIlroy broke down in tears in a rare show of emotion in Wisconsin.
Jon Rahm keen to win at Valderrama for ‘historic reasons and nostalgia’
The Spaniard is hoping to perform on home soil.
‘Stupid is as stupid does’ – Phil Mickelson criticises club length restriction
The R&A and USGA have brought in a ‘model local rule’ to limit all clubs other than putters to a maximum of 46 inches.