The 88th Masters at Augusta National starts on Thursday. Image: X @TheMasters

PREVIEW: Masters 2024 set for stormy start, follow LIVE

Thunderstorms are forecast to disrupt the start of the 88th Masters at Augusta National on Thursday. All you need to know …


The 88th Masters at Augusta National starts on Thursday. Image: X @TheMasters

Thunderstorms are forecast to disrupt the start of the 88th Masters at Augusta National on Thursday as world number one Scottie Scheffler and second-ranked Rory McIlroy tee off in a dream first-round pairing.

LIVE | Masters 2024 – Round 1 leaderboard

Rain and scattered thunderstorms are set to move into the region at around 06:00 local time and are expected to last until 13:00, potentially causing havoc to the first round schedule.

Honorary starters Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson are due get proceedings under way at 07:40 (13:40 SA time), with the first group teeing off 20 minutes later.

However Masters organisers said late on Wednesday that gate openings for Thursday’s first round would be delayed due to weather, a clear sign that play will also be held up.

Scheffler, seeking his second title in three seasons, was in a group with four-time major winner McIlroy, who would complete a career grand slam with a Masters triumph, and Tokyo Olympic champion Xander Schauffele, chasing his first major victory.

By taking the green jacket, McIlroy would join a select group including Woods, Nicklaus, Player, Gene Sarazen and Ben Hogan. McIlroy has not won a major in 10 years but has learned he needs patience at Augusta National.

“This golf course gets you to chase things a little more than other golf courses,” he said.

“It always tempts you to do something you think you can do and I’m pretty confident in my golf game. I think I can do most things.

“Sometimes you just have to take the conservative route and be a little more disciplined and patient.”

Scheffler, who won twice and finished second last month in PGA events, could join Woods as the only players to win the Masters twice while atop the rankings.

“The winds are going to be pretty high and it swirls like crazy around this place,” he said.

“You have to stay so patient and trust in all aspects of your game.”

Fifth-ranked Schauffele hopes to lose the tag as the highest-rated player without a major title.

“It’s definitely what motivates me as a golfer and as a competitor just to keep pushing,” Schauffele said of a major victory.

The feature trio is scheduled to tee off Thursday at 10:42, 12 minutes after Spain’s defending champion Jon Rahm, England’s Matt Fitzpatrick and 20-year-old American Nick Dunlap.

Rahm could become only the fourth player to capture back-to-back Masters triumphs after Woods, Nicklaus and Nick Faldo.

“I do feel fresh and ready for it,” Rahm said.

Reigning US Open champion Wyndham Clark, Norway’s Viktor Hovland and Australian Cameron Smith, the 2022 Open Championship winner, are together behind Scheffler and McIlroy.

Is Tiger a cut above?

Woods, returning to major golf after right ankle surgery last April but still struggling to walk 72 holes, will try to make the Masters cut for a record 24th consecutive time to break to mark he shares with Player and Fred Couples.

But the five-time Masters winner talks about another record – the six career Masters wins by Nicklaus.

“If everything comes together, I think I can get one more,” Woods said.

Woods tees off at 13:24 alongside fellow American Max Homa and Australian Jason Day.

A group behind them are 2023 Open Championship winner Brian Harman, 2023 PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka and South Korean Tom Kim.

Five-time major winner Koepka and Rahm are among 13 players from Saudi-backed LIV Golf in the Masters field, with six-time major winner Phil Mickelson and Koepka sharing second last year behind Rahm, who jumped from the PGA Tour to LIV in December.

Eyes will be on LIV player results as merger talks continue between the PGA Tour and LIV’s backers, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.

There are 20 first-time Masters starters hoping to become the first rookie winner since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

This year’s newcomers include ninth-ranked Ludvig Aberg of Sweden and fourth-ranked Clark.

“Stats like that are meant to be broken,” Clark said.

“That would be an amazing accomplishment. And I like my chances.”


All times SA

  • 14:00 — Erik van Rooyen, Jake Knapp
  • 14:12 — Jose Maria Olazabal, Taylor Moore, Santiago de la Fuente
  • 14:24 — Danny Willett, Austin Eckroat, Stephan Jaeger
  • 14:36 — Charl Schwartzel, Luke List, Christo Lamprecht
  • 14:48 — Gary Woodland, Thorbjorn Olesen, Bryson DeChambeau
  • 15:00 — Zach Johnson, Corey Conners, Jasper Stubbs
  • 15:12 — Sergio Garcia, Chris Kirk, Ryan Fox
  • 15:24 — Lucas Glover, Byeong Hun An, Harris English
  • 15:36 — Phil Mickelson, Sepp Straka, Tony Finau
  • 15:48 — Nick Taylor, Joaquin Niemann, Russell Henley
  • 16:06 — Patrick Cantlay, Min Woo Lee, Rickie Fowler
  • 16:18 — Hideki Matsuyama, Will Zalatoris, Justin Thomas
  • 16:30 — Jon Rahm, Matt Fitzpatrick, Nick Dunlap 
  • 16:42 — Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
  • 16:54 — Wyndham Clark, Viktor Hovland, Cameron Smith
  • 17:06 — Lee Hodges, Adrian Meronk, Grayson Murray
  • 17:18 — Camilo Villegas, Denny McCarthy, Cameron Davis
  • 17:30 — Mike Weir, Ryo Hisatsune, Neal Shipley
  • 17:42 — Vijay Singh, Si Woo Kim, Emiliano Grillo
  • 17:54 — Fred Couples, Adam Hadwin, Stewart Hagestad
  • 18:12 — Justin Rose, Eric Cole, Peter Malnati
  • 18:24 — Akshay Bhatia, J.T. Poston, Shane Lowry
  • 18:36 — Bubba Watson, Nicolai Hojgaard, Adam Schenk
  • 18:48 — Patrick Reed, Sungjae Im, Kurt Kitayama
  • 19:00 — Keegan Bradley, Matthieu Pavon, Tyrrell Hatton
  • 19:12 — Adam Scott, Sam Burns, Cameron Young
  • 19:24 — Tiger Woods, Jason Day, Max Homa
  • 19:36 — Brian Harman, Brooks Koepka, Tom Kim
  • 19:48 — Jordan Spieth, Ludvig Aberg, Sahith Theegala
  • 20:00 — Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Tommy Fleetwood