AUGUSTA, Ga. – There’ll be a Masters first on Sunday: A split-tee start.
With severe weather expected late Sunday afternoon, the Masters Tournament Committee announced that final-round play will begin at 7:30 a.m. ET at Augusta National.
The 65 players in the field will be split into threesomes and sent off both tees.
The final three-ball is expected to tee off No. 1 at 9:20 a.m. ET – or more than five hours early.
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“The safety of everyone on the grounds is paramount,” Masters chairman Fred Ridley said. “We also believe the earlier start will give us the best opportunity to complete the Masters on Sunday. This decision should benefit everyone – the players, our patrons and our fans watching around the world. Given the competitiveness and drama of this year’s Tournament, we look forward to an exciting conclusion tomorrow.”
Sunday’s forecast calls for an 80-percent chance of afternoon thunderstorms, with heavy rain, damaging winds and possible hail. Because of the early start, the expectation is that play will wrap up at about 2:30 p.m.
It’s the first time in tournament history that there will be a two-tee start for the final round. It had happened five times previously, including for the first three rounds in 2005, but never during the final day.
There hasn’t been a Monday finish at the Masters since 1983.
CBS Sports’ televised coverage of the final round will begin at 9 a.m. ET.