The first 36 holes are in the books, the field was nearly been cut in half and the push for the green jacket is ready to begin at Augusta National. With the tournament heading to the weekend and just 36 holes remaining, there will be some extra attention on Augusta National for moving day on Saturday. That doesn't, however, mean there will be additional television coverage. The broadcast will shift from ESPN to CBS, but will be a similar four-hour block.
The leaders will begin teeing off shortly after 2 p.m. ET, but some will be on the course for nearly an hour before television coverage begins at 3 p.m. CBS' broadcast is scheduled to run from 3 to 7 p.m. The broadcast could run long if the pace of play is slow, or there is a delay. Although the television coverage won't allow viewers to watch every shot of the third round live, it will allow them to see most of Bubba Watson's third round. The 36-hole leader isn't scheduled to hit the first tee until 2:45 p.m. and all but maybe a shot or two of his round should occur during the live coverage.
Watson will start out as the star of the broadcast after surging into the lead with a 4-under round of 68 on Friday. His round included a streak of five straight birdies and he opens Saturday with a three-stroke lead. With Tiger Woods not playing in the tournament and Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and a host of other notable names missing the cut, Watson, Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth figure to be the stars of Saturday, permitting solid rounds. Scott, the defending Masters champion, will begin the day at 3-under. He'll play with the 20-year-old Spieth who is also 3-under through 36 holes. The pairing should receive more than it's fair share of attention with Scott arguably the biggest name left in the field and Spieth one of the most-talked about rising stars. Former Masters champion Fred Couples will begin the third round at 2-under. A fan favorite, Couples is sure to draw significant coverage if he can remain in contention. He's had success in the early rounds at Augusta in recent years, only to falter on the weekend. If the 54-year-old is able to stay in the mix heading into Sunday, it would be one of the stories of the tournament.
A handful of big names will tee off earlier in the day, including Rory McIlroy and Jason Day. Both players barely made the cut at 4-over and they will be two of the first three players on the course. With the broadcast scheduled to begin more than four hours after they tee off, McIlroy and Day will likely be done, or nearly done with their rounds when live coverage begins. If viewers want to see them play live, they'll have to resort to watching online streams from Masters.com and CBSSports.com. The online options on Saturday include a live stream of Amen Corner and a dedicated stream to Nos. 15 and 16. That will allow viewers to watch five holes live before television coverage begins. There will also be featured group streams that will follow select pairings on the back nine.
In addition to the live television coverage, CBS Sports Network will air Live Masters on the Range from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The show will provide coverage from the Augusta National practice area and include highlights of the round and some player interviews. Here is a complete look at the third round coverage.
Third round coverage
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.: Live Masters on the Range - CBS Sports Network
3 - 7 p.m.: Live third round coverage - CBS
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.: Live Masters on the Range
11:45 a.m. - 6 p.m.: Amen Corner live stream
12:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.: Nos. 15 and 16 live stream
12:30 p.m. - completion: Featured Group 1 and Featured Group 2 streams. Exact times TBD.
2 p.m. - completion: Masters Radio - Masters.com