Masters 2019: For leaders, there's a sneaky advantage to Sunday's early start

An early start means less sleep, but also less time to think.
An early start means less sleep, but also less time to think.  

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Perhaps the only thing more difficult than trying to win a major championship is trying to fill the hours before you get the chance.

At the Masters, this is usually a golfer's reward for playing well. If you lead the tournament, you draw a late afternoon tee time the next day, and you then attempt some sort of mental gymnastics in which you strain to avoid the thought of the sizable opportunity ahead.

On Sunday, one subtle byproduct of the ominous weather forecast is that players won't have the luxury, if that's what we want to call it. The final threesome of Tiger Woods, Francesco Molinari and Tony Finau tee off a 9:20 a.m as opposed to the usual 2:40 p.m. start, allowing far less sleep, but perhaps less stress as well.

"I do think that's nice, not waiting around till 3 o'clock kind of twiddling your thumbs. If you work out, eat, there's a lot going on there," said Finau, the only player in the final group who hasn't won a major title.

Finau experienced the traditional dynamic when he played well at last June's U.S. Open. A spot in the final pairing meant he didn't tee off until 2:24 p.m., and he was exhausted before he even left for the golf course. "It was the longest day of my life, and I still hadn't teed off," he said.

Instead, even those players teeing off "latest" will be rising before dawn, and some, like Woods whose fragile body requires more preparation than others, it will be even earlier. The 14-time major champion said he expects to rise at 3:45 a.m.-painful perhaps, but even for him, it'll be less time to let the mind wander.

"I always feel pressure," Woods said. "The day I don't feel pressure is the day I quit. I always say that if you care about something, obviously you're going to feel pressure."

MASTERS 2019: Final-round tee times moved up because of weather


More Related News

Woods to play Memorial ahead of US Open
Woods to play Memorial ahead of US Open

Tiger Woods confirmed Thursday that he will play next week's Memorial Tournament as he aims to rediscover his best form ahead of next month's US Open, tournament organisers said. Woods, who bagged a dramatic 15th major title at the Masters last month, was brought back down to earth with a bump last week after missing the cut at the US PGA Championship. The tournament at Bethpage Black was the first competitive golf Woods had played since his emotional victory at Augusta -- his first major title in 11 years -- and the American said he had not practised enough leading into the tournament.

Woods to play Memorial ahead of U.S. Open
Woods to play Memorial ahead of U.S. Open

After missing the cut at the US PGA Championship, Tiger Woods is taking a different approach in the lead up to the U.S. Open.

Woods commits to Memorial Tournament ahead of U.S. Open
Woods commits to Memorial Tournament ahead of U.S. Open

There will not be another extended break for Tiger Woods between major championship starts. Woods committed to next week's Memorial Tournament on Thursday morning ending speculation that he might not play between the PGA Championship and U.S. Open. Following his Masters victory in April, Woods went four weeks without playing a PGA Tour event.

U.S. Open 2019 picks: The 13 best bets to win at Pebble Beach
U.S. Open 2019 picks: The 13 best bets to win at Pebble Beach

Our updated weekly pre-tournament ranking (with Vegas odds) of the golfers most likely to win the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Here's what's separating Brooks Koepka from his peers (and why his major run isn't over yet)

When Jack Nicklaus won the 1965 Masters by a then-record nine strokes, the crushing victory left Bobby Jones muttering about how the Golden Bear was playing a game with which he was not familiar. More recently, Brooks Koepka's dominant play at last week's PGA Championship at Bethpage Black left at least one of his fellow competitors, Xander Schauffele, admitting to feeling simply melancholy. Kopeka's make-up and his performances in majors, of which he has now won four of the last eight, would undoubtedly earn him a spot in the "99 club"-a rare group of Madden NFL players with high enough attributes to earn a perfect rating-if video-game-maker EA still produced a golf title.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Golf

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.