All eyes will be on Augusta National on Thursday as the 2013 Masters opens with first-round action. Golf's biggest and brightest stars will be on display in the first major tournament of the season.
For the first time since 2010, Tiger Woods opens Masters play as the No. 1 player in the world. With his game seemingly at its highest level since 2008, Woods is the favorite to capture his fifth career green jacket. He'll begin that quest on Thursday, although not many outside Augusta National will be able to watch his entire first round.
Woods, who will be playing with Luke Donald and Scott Piercy, is scheduled to tee off at 10:45 a.m. ET. With the group's morning tee time, they are likely to wrap up their round right as ESPN's live coverage begins at 3 p.m. Masters.com offers a number of livestreams, but because Woods' group is not one of the two featured groups on Thursday, fans will be unable to watch anything more than a few holes on the second nine.
The group certainly has the star power to be included as one of the two featured groups, but Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said on Thursday that a player can only be in a featured group one day, and Woods is set to be in the featured group on Friday. The group, however, is scheduled to tee off on Friday afternoon, meaning most of Woods' second round will air on ESPN as well.
Although not many will see it, the trio of Woods, Donald and Piercy should make for an interesting pairing. Like Woods, Donald is also among the favorites to win the 2013 Masters. Compared to his playing partners, Piercy is an unknown rookie, but he has played well recently, and shot a 61 earlier this season at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
While Woods won't be playing in a featured group on Thursday, Webb Simpson, Charl Schwartzel and others will. Simpson and Schwartzel will be joined by Peter Hanson in the first featured group. They will tee off at 9:39 a.m. The second featured group of the day will tee off at 9:50 a.m., and features Zach Johnson, K.J. Choi and Graeme McDowell.
There will be a number of other notable morning pairings on Thursday, led by defending Masters champion Bubba Watson. Watson will play with Ian Poulter and amateur Steven Fox, with the three set to tee off at 10:34 a.m. Rickie Fowler and Jason Day will also play in the morning groups, as they will tee off at 10:56 a.m. in a group with Padraig Harrington.
Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson will be one of the notable players teeing off in the afternoon on Thursday. Mickelson will tee off at 1:30 p.m. in a pairing with Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer. Rory McIlroy, the No. 2 player in the world, will go off in the group immediately after Mickelson. McIlroy is scheduled to play with Keegan Bradley and Fredrik Jacobson at 1:41 p.m. Those back-to-back groups should take up most of the camera time when ESPN comes on the air in the afternoon.
Guan Tianlang will set a record on Thursday, when at 14, he will be come the youngest player in Masters history. Tianlang will play in a group along with another teenage phenom, Matteo Manassero and 61-year old Ben Crenshaw. The three are scheduled to tee off at 12:24 p.m.
Here's a look at the complete list of tee times for Thursday's first round (all times ET):
|8 a.m.||Sandy Lyle||John Peterson||Nathan Smith|
|8:11 a.m.||Larry Mize||Brian Gay||Russell Henley|
|8:22 a.m.||Ian Woosnam||David Lynn||Kevin Na|
|8:33 a.m.||David Toms||Richard Sterne||Ted Potter Jr.|
|8:44 a.m.||Tom Watson||Ryan Moore||Kevin Streelman|
|8:55 a.m.||Robert Garrigus||Carl Pettersson||Tim Clark|
|9:06 a.m.||Mike Weir||Lee Westwood||Jim Furyk|
|9:17 a.m.||Brandt Snedeker||Ryo Ishikawa||Justin Rose|
|9:28 a.m.||Jose Maria Olazabal||Marc Leishman||T.J. Vogel|
|9:39 a.m.||Charl Schwartzel||Webb Simpson||Peter Hanson|
|9:50 a.m.||Zach Johnson||K.J. Choi||Graeme McDowell|
|10:12 a.m.||Michael Thompson||John Huh||John Senden|
|10:23 a.m.||Stewart Cink||Nicolas Colsaerts||Thaworn Wiratchant|
|10:34 a.m.||Bubba Watson||Ian Poulter||Steven Fox|
|10:45 a.m.||Tiger Woods||Luke Donald||Scott Piercy|
|10:56 a.m.||Jason Day||Rickie Fowler||Padraig Harrington|
|11:07 a.m.||John Merrick||Thorbjorn Olesen||D.A. Points|
|11:18 a.m.||Craig Stadler||Ben Curtis||Michael Weaver|
|11:29 a.m.||Mark O'Meara||Martin Laird||Jamie Donaldson|
|11:40 a.m.||Paul Lawrie||Thomas Bjorn||Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano|
|11:51 a.m.||Trevor Immelman||George Coetzee||Alan Dunbar|
|12:13 p.m.||Ernie Els||Steve Stricker||Nick Watney|
|12:24 p.m.||Ben Crenshaw||Matteo Manassero||Tianlang Guan|
|12:35 p.m.||Bernhard Langer||Lucas Glover||Henrik Stenson|
|12:46 p.m.||Vijay Singh||Bo Van Pelt||Y.E. Yang|
|12:57 p.m.||Angel Cabrera||Sergio Garcia||Adam Scott|
|1:08 p.m.||Fred Couples||Dustin Johnson||Branden Grace|
|1:19 p.m.||Hunter Mahan||Hiroyuki Fujita||Francesco Molinari|
|1:30 p.m.||Phil Mickelson||Louis Oosthuizen||Martin Kaymer|
|1:41 p.m.||Rory McIlroy||Keegan Bradley||Fredrik Jacobson|
|1:52 p.m.||Jason Dufner||Matt Kuchar||Bill Haas|