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 wants US Presidents Cup team playing before Australia
Woods wants US Presidents Cup team playing before Australia

Tiger Woods wants the eight players who made his Presidents Cup team and four more under consideration as captain's picks to play tournaments and stay sharp over the next three months leading to the December matches Down Under. Left unclear was whether that applies to the captain if Woods decides

Woods: 'Disappointing' not to have chance to defend at East Lake

Tiger Woods was disappointed to not make a return to East Lake where he capped off a remarkable breakthrough win at last year's Tour Championship.

Thomas holds on to win BMW Championship
Thomas holds on to win BMW Championship

Justin Thomas had more stress than he wanted and answered with the shots he needed Sunday at Medinah to win the BMW Championship and claim the No. 1 seed going into the FedEx Cup finale. Thomas watched a six-shot lead shrink to two in a span of three holes around the turn until he regained control with

Tiger shoots par but won
Tiger shoots par but won't get to defend Tour Championship

A season that saw Tiger Woods capture his 15th major title by winning the Masters came to a close Sunday for the 43-year-old star at the PGA BMW Championship. It means Woods won't qualify to defend his title at next week's season-ending US PGA Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta. "

Woods misses chance to defend Tour Championship title
Woods misses chance to defend Tour Championship title

Only the top 30 players on the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup points list are eligible to play at East Lake in Atlanta, where a staggering $15 million will be up for grabs for the winner. In order to qualify, Woods needed to place about sixth at the BMW Championship on Sunday, but was destined to finish much

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.