The Masters 2014 TV schedule: Who to watch Thursday (+video)
The 78th annual Masters golf tournament gets started early Thursday morning at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. This year marks the first father-son combo at the Masters. There will be a record number of first-time players. But Tiger Woods will not be competing.
The azaleas and dogwood trees are in full bloom, again. The golf course, in many observers' opinion, is in terrific shape. Now, all that's needed are the world's best golfers and four days of good weather as the Masters gets underway Thursday in Augusta, Ga..
This year, 97 players are ready to tee it up at the Augusta National Golf Club. The one notable exception, of course, is Tiger Woods, rated No. 1 in the world again. Back surgery last month will prevent the four-time past champion from participating this year.
Part of the field in 2014 will include 24 first-time players, a record for the Masters. The old mark of 23 was set all the way back in 1935, the tournament's second year.
The majority of the field this year will go off the first hole as threesomes and are labeled as groups. Honorary starters Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player will get the tournament underway shortly after 7:30 a.m. Eastern time Thursday with ceremonial tee shots on the first hole.
Who are some of the notable groups Thursday and tee times?
At 7:56 a.m., 1991 Masters champion Ian Woosnam of Wales, one of 18 former winners in this year's field, tees off with Kevin Stadler, son of 1982 Masters winner Craig Stadler, who is also playing this year. With their play Thursday, the Stadlers will become the first father-son combination ever to play in the Masters.
Two-time former champion Ben Crenshaw tees off at 8:07 a.m. Tom Watson, another two-time winner, tees off at 8:51 a.m.
Another group to keep an eye on makes up Group 11, teeing off at 9:35 a.m.: Former US Open winner Graeme McDowell will play with Ricky Fowler and Jimmy Walker, who has already won three times on the PGA Tour this year.
Defending Masters champion Adam Scott will play with PGA champion Jason Duffner and US Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick of Britain. This group tees off at 10:41 a.m.
They will be followed by the threesome of Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, and Rory McIlroy, who tee off at 10:52 a.m.
Thursday afternoon at the Masters will have some star power, as well. Jason Day of Australia, Dustin Johnson of the US, and Sweden's Henrik Stenson tee off at 1:04 p.m.
At 1:15 p.m., 2012 Masters winner Bubba Johnson tees off with England's Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia of Spain.
Current British Open champ and three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson is playing with Ernie Els, twice a Masters runner-up, and current US Open champion Justin Rose of England. This group will tee off at 1:48 p.m.
Television coverage of the Masters will be on ESPN, beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern time Thursday. You can also watch some of the action on your computer or mobile device at Masters.com. The tournament website will provide live streaming of action at legendary "Amen Corner" (Holes 11, 12, and 13), beginning at 10:45 a.m. and continuing throughout the day.
[Editor's note: The year that Craig Stadler won the Masters was incorrectly stated in the original version of this story.]