AUGUSTA, GA. (AP) - It’s small consolation, but hardcore Tiger Woods fans who can’t make it to the Masters for Thursday’s opening round can at least take the morning off.
No matter how many screens you own, golf’s biggest draw won’t make his way onto any of them until sometime after 1 p.m., EST, when the Woods’ threesome _ which includes Luke Donald and Scott Piercy _ reaches the 11th hole. That’s the start of “Amen Corner” and not coincidentally, part of the bonus coverage being streamed live on Masters.com, as well as several other online outlets.
The Masters website’s live coverage of this year’s tournament begins with a streaming telecast from the driving range at 10:45 a.m., which is when the Woods’ group tees off. Fifteen minutes later, coverage of the 15th and 16th holes comes online. At 11:45, viewers will be able to follow the first of the day’s three featured groups _ Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson and Peter Hanson _ as they play the back nine.
They’ll be followed at noon by the trio of K.J. Choi, Zach Johnson and Graeme McDowell. The last featured group is Rory McIlroy, Keegan Bradley and Freddie Jacobson. Live television coverage doesn’t begin until 3 p.m. on ESPN.
The club’s daily selection of featured pairings is designed to provide online viewers with three strong groups _ each with at least one major winner _ playing the back nine to follow ahead of the full TV coverage. The idea is whet the appetite and not, as some might suspect, to slight Woods.
If anything, in fact, think of Thursday’s coverage as the anti-Golf Channel, which rarely passes up the opportunity to show Woods on the course. His group will also be part of Friday’s featured
A TRADITION LIKE NO OTHER: Paul Azinger was playing a practice round with Mark Calcavecchia and Ken Green in 1988 when the trio arrived at the 16th, a 170-yard, par-3 over a pond that stretches from the tee to a severely sloping green. To spice things up, each anted up $100 to be awarded to whoever could skip the ball across the water _ like a flat stone _ and onto the putting surface.
In the years since, the sophisticated Masters galleries are in on the joke, practically demanding that every group playing the 16th do the same.
“Nowadays, you get booed if you don’t go along,” Azinger recalled on the 25th anniversary of that singular event.
So who cashed that day?
“No one made it to the green,” Azinger said.
But, hey, at least no one got booed.
BRIDGE OVER NOT-SO-TROUBLED WATERS: So if players don’t go along with the informal practice-round tradition at No. 16, how do they keep the boo-birds happy?