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US Masters TV details, tips, and top storylines: Here's all you need to know

Here's our guide to the Masters, which starts on Thursday, including picks to upset the favourites, storylines to follow, holes that could define the ...

If you had to bet your life on one of three players to win this week’s Masters, you’d likely roll with chalk favorites Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Jon Rahm. These, however, would be three in-form fits that could make you regret it.

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU 

Golf’s newest distance monster failed to dismantle Augusta National in November as was feared after his US Open romp at Winged Foot. DeChambeau admittedly got a little over his skis pushing his body, swing and shaft length to the limit. He has dialed back just a tad and is looking more comfortable and ready to implement his aggressive game-plan on what he now deems a “par 68” course for him.

His performances at Bay Hill and the Players on the Florida swing make him a legitimate threat to win despite never finishing better than 21st (when he was low amateur) in four prior Masters starts.

JUSTIN THOMAS

It has been a difficult year for the 2017 PGA champion, but Thomas has weathered a public relations storm and the emotional trauma from the death of his grandfather to come out the other side and triumph at the Players Championship last month. Thomas has made steady improvements at Augusta in each of his five career starts, progressing from T39, T22, T17, T12, to solo fourth in November. 

He has all the tools to be a factor at Augusta National. While eight Players champs have also won green jackets, the only reigning champ to do so was Tiger Woods in 2001.

BILLY HORSCHEL

There are safer off-the-main-menu choices for Augusta (like Paul Casey) considering Horschel has only once in six Masters starts finished inside the top 20 (T17 in 2016). But the 34-year-old American is enjoying his best season since he came out of nowhere in 2014 to win consecutive PGA Tour playoff events and the FedEx Cup. 

He comes in fresh off a WGC-Match Play victory, beating Scottie Scheffler in final. But it was his runner-up to Collin Morikawa in February at a firm and unforgiving Concession Golf Club that forecasts his ability to handle the test that Augusta National is likely to present this week.

FIVE WINNING STORYLINES 

Shane Lowry plays a shot on the 13th hole at Augusta National. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Shane Lowry plays a shot on the 13th hole at Augusta National. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

IRISH SPORTING GREEN

Until a green jacket completes his career slam, Rory McIlroy will always be the No. 1 potential storyline at the Masters. But if Pete Cowan can’t make a quick turnaround of Rory’s recent swing demons, Shane Lowry’s rising form may be the best bet for Irish breakthrough at Augusta.

CLUB WITHIN CLUB

Only three players have ever successfully repeated as Masters champion – Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90), and Tiger Woods (2001-02). Dustin Johnson stands a strong chance to be the fourth just five months later. He now holds a record with 11 consecutive rounds under par.

JORDAN REVIVAL

Jordan Spieth completed revival after a nearly four-year drought by winning Valero Texas Open on Easter Sunday. He has been trending that way for months after protracted slump caused by a bone chip suffered while lifting weights, leading to bad habits, lost confidence, and a world no. 92 ranking in January.

WINS OF THE FATHER

Jon Rahm’s wife, Kelley, delivered a healthy baby boy, Kepa Cahill, on Saturday the eve of Masters week. That frees the world No. 3 from Spain to follow a trend set by Bubba Watson (2012) and Danny Willett (2016) of turning pre-tournament paternity into Masters glory.

ONE FOR THE AGED

Lee Westwood continues to defy Father Time and perform among the world’s elite while approaching 48th birthday this month. The reigning Race to Dubai champion went toe-to-toe with young superstars Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas on Florida swing to portend Augusta promise.

TV DETAILS

The 16th green at Augusta National. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The 16th green at Augusta National. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Sky Sports and Eir Sport will show live Masters coverage across all four days. Global broadcast restrictions mean that full live coverage will begin from 7.30pm over the first two days, 8pm on Saturday, and 7pm on Sunday.

To get you through the afternoon, though, Sky will have live coverage of featured groups on Thursday and Friday. The groups are:

Thursday 

3.06pm: Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland

3.30pm: Dustin Johnson, Lee Westwood, Tyler Strafaci 

6.48pm: Tony Finau, Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Thomas 

7pm: Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith, Collin Morikawa 

Friday 

3.06pm: Phil Mickelson, Tommy Fleetwood, Scottie Scheffler 

3.30pm: Adam Scott, Bryson DeChambeau, Max Homa 

6.48pm: Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy 

7pm: Patrick Reed, Daniel Berger, Paul Casey

There will also be live coverage on the red button of certain featured holes from 3pm on Thursday and Friday, and 3.30pm Saturday and Sunday, including the 4th, 5th, and 6th, Amen Corner, and the 15th and 16th via the red button.

PAR PLEASE 

Phil Mickelson (from left) looks on as Paul Casey reacts to just missing his birdie putt while Viktor Hovland lines his putt up on the 12th green during their practice round for the Masters at Augusta National. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Phil Mickelson (from left) looks on as Paul Casey reacts to just missing his birdie putt while Viktor Hovland lines his putt up on the 12th green during their practice round for the Masters at Augusta National. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Augusta National offers many tempting holes where players can take advantage and get on a low-scoring roll. Some holes, however, are just better to walk away from with a momentum-saving par.

No. 1 Tea Olive (445-yard par 4) 

This is not a handshake opener. The combination of first-tee nerves and a tight squeeze to hit a fairway that bends around a deep fairway bunker on the right and trees that encroach quickly on the left make this one of the most daunting tee shots on the course. 

Then there is a knobby crowned green that sits up high and rolls steeply off on every side. Tiger Woods putted off it his first Masters. Ernie Els six-putted it from close range to make 9 in 2016. It has ruined many a green jacket bid before they ever got started, setting the tone for a player’s day. Take par and run to the second tee before exhaling.

No. 10 Camellia (495-yard par 4) 

The fairway falls 110 feet as it gently bends right-to-left down the biggest hill at Augusta toward a decorative fairway bunker that used to front the green. The tee shot ruined Rory McIlroy’s best bid in 2011, but it’s really the approach that is the most menacing. 

Often hitting from the downslope into a steeply elevated green set back in the pines, it requires an exactly longer iron to get there safely on a green with a significant back-to-front pitch. When it all comes down to the back nine on Sunday, this poses the first great danger. Par here has been good enough to win three sudden-death playoffs. Even bogey here was enough for Mike Weir.

No. 12 Golden Bell (155-yard par 3)

The smallest hole on the course is the only one that hasn’t changed its yardage since the course first opened. It has always been a beautiful terror that has wrecked more Masters dreams than any other hole on the course. The traditional Sunday right pin is a siren song waiting to invite players who take it on to a watery grave in Rae’s Creek. 

The wind famously swirls in this part of Amen Corner, knocking down balls to roll down front bank or lifting them in gusts to the perilous back bunker. Jordan Spieth made quad in 2016. Tiger Woods deftly played it for par in 2019 while four other late contenders floundered with double bogeys.

TEE TIMES

Phil Mickelson plays a shot from the 14th tee at Augusta National. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson plays a shot from the 14th tee at Augusta National. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Thursday (Irish time)

(US unless stated. * denotes amateur)

12.45pm: Lee Elder, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus (Honorary starters) 

1pm: Michael Thompson, Hudson Swafford.

1.12pm: Sandy Lyle (Scotland), Matt Jones (Australia), Dylan Frittelli (S. Africa).

1.24pm: Ian Woosnam (Wales), Jim Herman, Stewart Cink.

1.36pm: Sebastian Muñoz (Colombia), Henrik Stenson (Sweden), Robert Streb.

1.48pm: Bernhard Langer (Germany), Will Zalatoris, *Joe Long (England).

2pm: Brian Harman, Ian Poulter (England), Brendon Todd.

2.12pm: Charl Schwartzel (S. Africa), Si Woo Kim (Korea), Corey Conners (Canada).

2.24pm: Danny Willett (England), Joaquin Niemann (Chile), Kevin Kisner.

2.36pm: Jason Day (Australia), Matthew Wolff, Cameron Champ.

2.48pm: Hideki Matsuyama (Japan), Harris English, Abraham Ancer (Mexico).

3.06pm: Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland (Norway).

3.18pm: Sergio Garcia (Spain), Webb Simpson, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (S. Africa).

3.30pm: Dustin Johnson, Lee Westwood (England), *Tyler Strafaci.

3.42pm: Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm (Spain), Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland).

3.54pm: Patrick Reed, Daniel Berger, Paul Casey (England).

4.06pm: Vijay Singh (Fiji), Martin Laird (Scotland).

4.18pm: Larry Mize, Jimmy Walker, Brian Gay.

4.30pm: Carlos Ortiz (Mexico), Mackenzie Hughes (Canada), Bernd Wiesberger (Austria).

4.42pm: Mike Weir (Canada), C. T. Pan (Chinese Taipei), Robert MacIntyre (Scotland).

4.54pm: Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain), Matt Wallace (England), Lanto Griffin.

5.12pm: Victor Perez (France), Jason Kokrak, Marc Leishman (Australia).

5.24pm: Fred Couples, Francesco Molinari (Italy), *Charles Osborne.

5.36pm: Zach Johnson, Kevin Na, Gary Woodland.

5.48pm: Shane Lowry (Ireland), Justin Rose (England), Matt Kuchar.

6pm: Billy Horschel, Tyrrell Hatton (England), Ryan Palmer.

6.12pm: Phil Mickelson, Tommy Fleetwood (England), Scottie Scheffler.

6.24pm: Patrick Cantlay, Sungjae Im (Korea), Matthew Fitzpatrick (England).

6.36pm: Adam Scott (Australia), Bryson DeChambeau, Max Homa.

6.48pm: Tony Finau, Louis Oosthuizan (S. Africa), Justin Thomas.

7pm: Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith (Australia), Collin Morikawa.

FRIDAY

1pm: Vijay Singh (Fiji), Martin Laird (Scotland).

1.12pm: Larry Mize, Jimmy Walker, Brian Gay.

1.24pm: Carlos Ortiz (Mexico), Mackenzie Hughes (Canada), Bernd Wiesberger (Austria).

1.36pm: Mike Weir (Canada), C. T. Pan (Chinese Taipei), Robert MacIntyre (Scotland).

1.48pm: Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain), Matt Wallace (England), Lanto Griffin.

2pm: Victor Perez (France), Jason Kokrak, Marc Leishman (Australia).

2.12pm: Fred Couples, Francesco Molinari (Italy), *Charles Osborne.

2.24pm: Zach Johnson, Kevin Na, Gary Woodland.

2.36pm: Shane Lowry (Ireland), Justin Rose (England), Matt Kuchar.

2.48pm: Billy Horschel, Tyrrell Hatton (England), Ryan Palmer.

3.06pm: Phil Mickelson, Tommy Fleetwood (England), Scottie Scheffler.

3.18pm: Patrick Cantlay, Sungjae Im (Korea), Matthew Fitzpatrick (England).

3.30pm: Adam Scott (Australia), Bryson DeChambeau, Max Homa.

3.42pm: Tony Finau, Louis Oosthuizan (S. Africa), Justin Thomas.

3.54pm: Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith (Australia), Collin Morikawa.

4.06pm: Michael Thompson, Hudson Swafford.

4.18pm: Sandy Lyle (Scotland), Matt Jones (Australia), Dylan Frittelli (S. Africa).

4.30pm: Ian Woosnam (Wales), Jim Herman, Stewart Cink.

4.42pm: Sebastian Muñoz (Colombia), Henrik Stenson (Sweden), Robert Streb.

4.54pm: Bernhard Langer (Germany), Will Zalatoris, *Joe Long (England).

5.12pm: Brian Harman, Ian Poulter (England), Brendon Todd.

5.24pm: Charl Schwartzel (S. Africa), Si Woo Kim (Korea), Corey Conners (Canada).

5.36pm: Danny Willett (England), Joaquin Niemann (Chile), Kevin Kisner.

5.48pm: Jason Day (Australia), Matthew Wolff, Cameron Champ.

6pm: Hideki Matsuyama (Japan), Harris English, Abraham Ancer (Mexico).

6.12pm: Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland (Norway).

6.24pm: Sergio Garcia (Spain), Webb Simpson, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (S. Africa).

6.36pm: Dustin Johnson, Lee Westwood (England), *Tyler Strafaci.

6.48pm: Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm (Spain), Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland).

7pm: Patrick Reed, Daniel Berger, Paul Casey (England).

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