Good morning. The Masters begins tomorrow.

Since this is the last men’s major championship of the year, we want to give the tournament its full due. And so, much like Bryson, this newsletter will be a little beefy. Let’s dig in.

Don’t go soft on us

So far, the stories of Masters week have been course conditions and weather. Every day of the event is expected to receive some form of rainfall, ranging from light drizzles to heavy rain and thunderstorms. Wednesday and Thursday are supposed to be particularly wet, which would make for an unusually soft Augusta National.

Wet conditions will certainly place a premium on carry distance off the tee, but many players seem more concerned about the short game. “A lot of the shots around the greens are going to be more challenging than they have been in the past,” Tiger Woods said on Tuesday.

The contrast between the fast, SubAir-supplemented greens and the soggy surrounds could make things very tricky. If the weather turns out as anticipated, we could see players landing the ball farther onto the greens than they normally would and playing fewer shots along the ground. We could also see more than a few flubbed chips and pitches. Stay tuned.

Don’t forget your umbrella

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Tee times

First- and second-round tee times for the Masters were released on Tuesday morning. Players will begin at 7 a.m. Eastern Standard Time off of both No. 1 and No. 10 on Thursday and Friday, so make sure to set your alarm clock.

The Masters is known for spreading the wealth through the tee sheet, but here are a few Thursday tee times we’re excited about:

7:33 a.m. EST (No. 10) – Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen – Two betting favorites, Rahm and DeChambeau, are paired with the 2012 runner-up in a group that could produce two or three contenders by Sunday afternoon.

7:44 a.m. EST (No. 1) – Xander Schauffele, Jason Kokrak, Henrik Stenson – A little bit of everything here. Xander has been playing incredible golf and finished T-2 at the Masters last year. Kokrak is a first-timer, though also a recent winner on the PGA Tour. Stenson hasn’t had much luck at Augusta, but we’ll see if Schauffele’s mojo rubs off on him.

7:55 a.m. EST (10) – Tiger Woods, Shane Lowry, Andy Ogletree (a) – Barring a second miracle from late-career Tiger, this is the last time he’ll return to Augusta National as the defending champion. A skilled poor-weather player, Shane Lowry figures to have as good a chance as anyone if the nasty stuff hits this weekend.

11:27 a.m. EST (10) – Bubba Watson, Matthew Wolff, Tommy Fleetwood – Three big-name players who could also be seen as dark horses. No one would be shocked if any of these guys won, though a Wolff victory would be the first for a rookie since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

11:38 a.m. EST (1) – Adam Scott, Collin Morikawa, Tyrrell Hatton – Of the three players, Tyrrell Hatton is in the best form heading into the week, but all could contend. Adam Scott, however, has notched only one top 10 at the Masters since his victory in 2013.

11:49 a.m. EST (1) – Justin Thomas, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Brooks Koepka – Both JT (T-39, T-22, T-17, T-12) and Brooks (T-33, T-21, T-11, T-2) have improved their finishing position in each of their appearances at Augusta National. Improvement this year would mean Thomas’s first top 10 at the Masters, while Brooks would need to get all the way to Butler Cabin.

12:00 p.m. EST (1) – Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy – This powerhouse group is the only one on the tee sheet featuring three players in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking (No. 1, No. 10, and No. 5, respectively). It wouldn’t shock anyone if all three were near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.

Notable quotables from player press conferences

Adam Scott on the course conditions – “The biggest problem for us as players if it’s wet. Obviously we’ve prepared, but around a golf course that requires precision like this one does, especially hitting into the greens, if there is mud on the ball it is very very difficult because you lose control of the ball flight.”

Jon Rahm on advice he received from Phil Mickelson – “You don’t need to play perfect golf to win at Augusta National. After watching many of the Sunday broadcasts that [ANGC] has been kind enough to post online, you see the leaders making mistakes on Sundays. You see everyone making mistakes. It’s something that everyone is going to do. You’re not going to be flawless and go bogey-free for 72 holes out here because it’s nearly impossible. Understand that you don’t need to hit every shot perfect, and that it’s okay to make some mistakes.”

Tiger Woods on the significance of his return as defending champion –  “This whole day is awfully special because I may not have the opportunity to take the jacket off property again. This means alot to me today, to have the opportunity to have the Champions Dinner and be able to host it tonight with the guys that are here. It is going to be awfully special for me.”

Rory McIlroy on his determination – “I think my grit has come from my failures, and I don’t have to look any further than this place in 2011. I learnt a lot from that  day. I learnt a lot in terms of what I needed to be and what I didn’t need to be…. But I think failure, you know, I try to say this to young guys that are coming through, you can’t be afraid of it. You have to embrace the fact that you are going to fail at things, but you should learn from them and then when you go again, you should be better.”

Collin Morikawa on his lack of experience at Augusta National – “Every course that I’ve played over the last year and a half, I’ve never seen…. I wouldn’t say I focus on certain courses more than others because I’m coming out every week, Monday through Wednesday, [to get myself ready] by Thursday morning so that I’m ready to play golf.

Patrick Cantlay on asking for advice from the older generation – “This golf course changes every year. They tweaked the 18th green two years ago and tweaked the 5th hole last year. Maybe, in a weird way, I know more about the 5th hole than Jack Nicklaus knows about the 5th hole. This course changes so much that you can get some general strategy from guys, but the course is changing, the game is changing, and so by now I like to think I’ve been around the place enough to know if pretty well.”

Bryson DeChambeau on his distance advantage – “As much as I can gain an advantage off the tee, I still have to putt it well and wedge it well.”

Quick Hooks

In Tuesday’s most anticipated interview, defending Masters champion Tiger Woods recounted the final hours of his 2019 victory. His memory of hugging his son Charlie still makes him emotional a year and a half later. Video

After making a hole-in-one on No. 4 during a Monday practice round, Jon Rahm skipped one off the pond on No. 16 and into the cup on Tuesday, his birthday. Solid start to the week for the No. 2 ranked player in the world.

Tiger’s Champions Dinner menu? Tiger’s Champions Dinner menu.

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Paulie’s Picks: 2020 Masters – The Masters receives the most betting interest of any tournament of the year, but Paulie has been out here grinding every week. His picks have a lot of knowledge behind them. See who he likes for DraftKings and one-and-done leagues!

Process over Results – It’s impossible to guarantee a dramatic or even a satisfying Masters. In 2020, a year rife with uncertainty, Brendan Porath is focusing on the small moments that make each tournament special.


Andy Johnson on why every player in the Masters won’t win

Will Knights on Jon Rahm’s next step

The Fried Egg Podcast: Geoff Ogilvy – All 18 at Augusta National

Last year, Geoff Ogilvy joined The Fried Egg podcast to talk through his notes on all 18 holes at Augusta National. Originally a two-part experience, we combined Geoff’s episodes to create a full 18-hole preview episode. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Shotgun Start: Bryson’s moment, Ridley’s moment, Chili’s Fajitas, and Paulie’s Picks

This Wednesday episode is an expanded Masters preview covering a range of serious and amusing topics for what will be a truly unique tournament at Augusta National. But first, a warning to read the fine print if you ever do a merchandising deal with a certain drinkware company. The event of the week is the Masters, and Brendan and Andy begin by discussing the potential weather impacts, the agronomy impacts, and some players to watch. They hail the new MyGroup digital broadcast feature for appearing to be a truly groundbreaking change, and then set up an ideal MyGroup strategy similar to the “League Pass Teams” of the NBA. There’s an early rumors from the ground segment ranked in order of ridiculousness. There’s a segment on what Bryson might do this week, his lengthy driver, and the comments from Phil that the future adopted practice will be carrying two drivers. That leads them to a chat on what to expect and what they want to hear from Chairman Fred Ridley in his annual press conference, the one time he offers a real state of the game from an ANGC perspective and fields questions. There’s a softer segment on the meaning of the Masters, using less of their own words and rather leaning on the testimony and actions of what they’ve seen from players this week as evidence of what place this tournament holds in our imaginations. A closing chat with gambling ace Fried Egg Paulie focuses on some one-and-done strategies, fantasy strategies, Sandy Lyle vs. Larry Mize, some more serious head-to-heads, Bryson’s o/u yardage props. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.