2018 Masters

Masters 2018 live stream updates: Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player get things started; how to watch

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Before 8 a.m. Thursday, the gallery around the first tee at Augusta National Golf Club was five, eight, even 10 deep. And when the two men emerged from the clubhouse — Jack Nicklaus in a red sweater, Gary Player in all black — they rose as if at church, pew after pew after pew.

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Player, the South African legend who won three Masters, and Nicklaus, the all-time great who has six green jackets among his record 18 major titles, opened the 82nd Masters as honorary starters Thursday morning, each hitting a straight and true tee shot 15 minutes before the tournament began.

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Fred Ridley, Augusta National’s new chairman, introduced each man — “two of the greatest golfers who have ever lived,” he said — to an adoring crowd. The sign at the tee, which normally lists the players in each group, read “82 Gary Player” above “78 Jack Nicklaus,” indicating each man’s age.

This is the second year Nicklaus and Player performed the duty of opening the Masters since the death of Arnold Palmer. In 2016, the four-time Masters champion joined Nicklaus and Player one final time, though he simply sat in a chair, no longer able to hit the shot. Last year, some six months after Palmer’s death, the chair remained, draped with Palmer’s green jacket.

The tournament was due to start 15 minutes after the opening shot with the first of 29 threesomes — Austin Cook, Ted Potter Jr. and Wesley Bryan. Tiger Woods, the four-time champion playing here for the first time since 2015, begins his quest at 10:42 a.m. in a group just ahead of defending champion Sergio Garcia, who tees off at 10:53 a.m.

Other key tee times: Phil Mickelson at 1:27 p.m., Rory McIlroy at 1:38 p.m., Jordan Spieth at 1:49 p.m. and Dustin Johnson at 2 p.m. in the final group.

Here’s where you can watch: Tiger Woods, four-time wearer of the champion’s green jacket, is one of the pre-tournament favorites. That means some viewers won’t be able to take their eyes off the 42-year-old, no matter how he’s doing.

But this week isn’t just about Woods. Many of the world’s best players enter the week in strong form. Add in the Woods intrigue, and you’ll want to know how to watch starting Thursday morning, a tricky proposition, since this is the tightly controlled Masters. Still, there are a few options. (All times are Eastern.)

  • ESPN has TV coverage from 3 until 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and on WatchESPN.
  • CBS takes over on TV from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday and from 2 to 7 p.m. (or the conclusion of play) Sunday. Its online coverage can be found at CBS AllAccess. The network will have a preview show (“On the Range”) 8:30-10:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday on CBS Sports Network and CBSSports.com.
  • CBSSports.com will also have live streams of featured groups, as well as coverage from Amen Corner (holes 11, 12, 13) and holes 15 and 16. Featured group coverage starts at roughly 10 a.m. Thursday; Amen Corner coverage begins at 10:45 a.m. and holes 15 and 16 coverage begins at 11:45. Consult the full live stream schedule here.
  • The Golf Channel has “Morning Drive” on TV and online from 6 to 8 a.m. Thursday and Friday, and “Live from the Masters” on TV and online beginning at 8 a.m.
  • AT&T/DIRECTV has coverage of featured groups, Amen Corner and the 15th and 16th holes starting at 3 p.m. each day (at 2 p.m. Sunday) on Channels 703, 704 and 705. There’s a 4K package from Amen Corner on Channel 105 and the 15th and 16th holes on Channel 106 starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday and Friday; at noon Saturday and Sunday for Amen Corner and 12:30 for the 15th and 16th holes. You also can stream the coverage.
  • Masters.com offers much of the same live coverage, too.

Tee times: The full list of tee times for Thursday and Friday is here, along with breakdowns of the top groups.

Woods, one of the betting favorites to win his fifth Masters, will tee off at 10:42 a.m. Thursday, playing in a group with Tommy Fleetwood and Marc Leishman. He’ll be followed on the tee at 10:53 by Sergio Garcia, the 2017 champion, and his group of Justin Thomas and 20-year-old amateur and Clemson sophomore Doc Redman.

Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar will tee off at 1:27 p.m. A trio of international stars in Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm will tee off at 1:38 p.m. Jordan Spieth’s group will tee off at 1:49 p.m. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is in the day’s final group, teeing off at 2 p.m.; he’ll play with Justin Rose and Rafael Cabrera-Bello.

The weather report: Temperatures were in the in the low 40s at the start Thursday, and you could see everyone’s breath as Nicklaus and Player got things started with their honorary tee shots. But things should warm up to about 70 before all is said and done in the first round, with sunny skies and winds 5 to 10 mph.

It will remain sunny and should be even warmer Friday, though the winds will pick up a bit. Saturday’s third round could get a little dicey with rain and even more wind in the forecast, especially in the morning. Whether it will be enough to halt play remains to be seen, but it very well could. The wet weather should help soften Augusta’s notoriously tricky greens.

The skies will clear a bit for Sunday’s final round, though it will be cool with highs in the mid-60s.

Favorites: The Post’s Barry Svrluga identifies five players who could win this weekend, including Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, and yes, Woods. Who could win but won’t? Jason Day heads that list. Read the rest of Svrluga’s breakdown here. The Post’s Neil Greenberg, meantime, gives the highest win probabilities to Johnson, Justin Thomas and Garcia. His explanation is here. Josh Planos analyzes which six holesmay decide Woods’s fate

You might want to wait until the end of the first round to make your choice. As Kyle Porter of CBS Sports points out, the last 12 Masters winners have been in the top 10 after the first 18 holes. The last one outside the top 10? Woods, who was tied for 30th after the first round in 2005 before storming back to win his fourth and most recent Green Jacket.

Dilly Dilly: Although a report earlier this week indicated that Masters officials were threatening to expel fans who yelled anything from a list of banned phrases, like “Dilly Dilly” or (we hope) “get in the hole,” but a Yahoo investigation reveals that there is no list. Which means that those phrases, and perennial favorites like “mashed potatoes” and “Baba Booey” still might randomly echo across Augusta.

“Yelling ‘Get in the hole’ from the tee box of a par five might get a hole punched in your badge – two punches and you’re gone – or it might get you heaved out of the course with no warning. Same with a group chant,” the report states

A fist pump is a better way to celebrate: Tony Finau scored a hole-in-one during Wednesday’s Par-3 contest and celebrated so darn hard that he dislocated his left ankle. And popped it into place. Read all about it and how Jack Nicklaus’s grandson scored a hole-in-one that reduced his proud grandpa to tears

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