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Masters 2015 TV schedule: Who to watch in the first round

The Masters, professional golf's first major championship of the year, gets started on Thursday. Check out some of the notables who hope to play well enough to wear the green jacket on Sunday afternoon.

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    Tiger Woods tees off on the 18th hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in Augusta, Ga.
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That annual rite of early spring, otherwise known as the Masters golf tournament, tees off Thursday at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

The tournament gets underway in the early morning with the ceremonial first tee shots hit by golfing legends and former Masters champions Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player.

That terrific threesome will be followed by 97 professional and amateur golfers taking aim at one of the world's most iconic golf courses.

Some groups of interest to keep an eye on Thursday include two-time former Masters champion Tom Watson teeing off at 8:07 a.m. Eastern time, playing alongside American Gary Woodland and Camilo Villegas of Colombia.

At 9:24 a.m., defending Masters champion Bubba Watson gets his first round started. He's paired with 2013 US Open champion Justin Rose of England and 2014 US Amateur champion Gunn Yang of South Korea.

Ben Crenshaw is another two-time former Masters winner, playing competitively this year for the final time 20 years after his last victory. He tees off at 10:08 a.m. and will be playing with Bill Haas and 2013 PGA champion Jason Dufner.

A terrific must-see threesome will tee off at 10:41 a.m. Eastern time Thursday. Three-time former Masters champion Phil Mickelson is joined by 2014 British Open and PGA champion Rory McIlroy, who is looking for the career Grand Slam after previously winning the US Open. Former US Amateur champion and now professional Ryan Moore rounds out the group.

Thursday afternoon at Augusta National will see more notable golfers teeing off, beginning with young stars Jordan Spieth and Billy Horschel of the US and Henrik Stenson of Sweden at 1:15 p.m.

Four-time former Masters winner Tiger Woods, returning from a back injury, tees off at 1:48 p.m. Eastern, along with recent PGA Tour winner Jimmy Walker of the US and Jamie Donaldson of Wales.

The final group of the day features American Rickie Fowler, who finished in the top five of all four major golf tournaments in 2014. Victorious European Ryder Cup team member Sergio Garcia of Spain and Australia's Jason Day will join him.

You can watch the action from Augusta National via live video stream at masters.com, beginning at 10:45 a.m. Eastern time Thursday. ESPN will carry live television coverage of the first round, starting at 3 p.m. Eastern.

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