AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The Masters begins Thursday on the revered grounds of Augusta National, where defending champion Jon Rahm will tee up alongside Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, Tiger Woods and the biggest names in golf for the year’s first major championship.

With a schism still separating the stars of the PGA Tour from those playing in the rival LIV Golf league, the lure of the blooming azaleas, Amen Corner and the Hogan Bridge have brought together a field of 89 vying for the green jacket.

Here is a look at what you need to know leading up to the Masters.


The first round begins at 8:15 a.m. EDT Thursday, when honorary starters Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson tee off on Tea Olive, the first hole at Augusta National. Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod were the first honorary starters in 1963, but it was not until Byron Nelson and Gene Sarazen took over in 1981 that it became such a treasured tradition.

The rest of the field tees off following them in groups of three, which were announced Tuesday. After the second round, the top 50 players and ties make the cut for the weekend and are paired according to score for the final two rounds.


The Masters streams on its website coverage throughout the week, beginning with pretournament shows at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday. The par 3 contest also takes place Wednesday on ESPN+ beginning at noon and ESPN at 3 p.m.

The Masters stream for the first round begins at 8:15 a.m. on Thursday and continues throughout the day as cameras highlight holes and groups. The first two rounds are broadcast on ESPN beginning at 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. CBS has the final two rounds on Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The tournament also can be streamed on ESPN+, Paramount+ and Fubo+.


Scheffler, the 2022 champion and world’s No. 1 player, is the 4-1 favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. McIlroy is 10-1 to end a decadelong majors drought. Rahm is 11-1 to become the fourth player to repeat as champion. Xander Schauffele is 14-1, 2021 champion Hideki Matsuyama is 20-1 and reigning PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka is 22-1. Woods is 150-1.


Scheffler is such a heavy favorite that some sportsbooks are offering the chance to wager on him against the field. He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the second time in March, became the first ever to defend his title at The Players Championship a week later and tied for second at the Houston Open a couple of weeks ago.

Rahm has been playing well, tying for fourth Sunday at the LIV Golf event in Miami. Koepka struggled at the same tournament, finishing 7 over and tied for 45th. Jordan Spieth bounced back from missed cuts at The Players and the Valspar Championship to tie for 10th last weekend at the Texas Open, where McIlroy closed with a 66 to finish third and pick up some momentum.


Rahm persevered last year to become the fourth Spaniard to win the Masters. He shared the first-round lead with Koepka and Viktor Hovland, then stayed in contention during a second round twice suspended because of approaching thunderstorms and halted when three towering pines fell near the 17th tee.

Torrential rain caused play Saturday to be suspended, too, and Rahm resumed Sunday four strokes off Koepka’s lead. But he halved the deficit by the end of the third round, and Rahm’s final-round 69 put him four shots clear of the fading Koepka and fan favorite Phil Mickelson, whose closing 65 at the age of 52 made him the oldest player to finish in the top five.


AP golf: