Countdown to The Masters

Countdown to The Masters

We've waited 250-odd days for it, but The Masters is finally here. Well, almost. But don't worry, we'll get you through to the live coverage

Useful links: Masters site | Leaderboard | Tee times | TV schedule

Get in touch on Twitter – @NCGmagazine

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Thanks for reading, everyone. Hope you enjoyed that. Remember to follow us on Twitter and the NCG team: Alex Perry, Mark Townsend, James Savage, Steve Carroll, Dan Murphy, Craig Middleton, and me, Keel Timmins.

And you can keep up with the very latest scores on our live leaderboard.

Enjoy The Masters!

8.01pm: Leishman’s putt drifts wide and he’s two back now, having led standing on the tee, thanks that double bogey.

Tiger rolls one up to the hole and for a player who has dominated the par-5s at Augusta down the years, he’ll be disappointed with playing them in even par today.

7.59pm: His second attempt isn’t much better but it’s dry. He has a nasty downhill putt now for bogey…

7.58pm: Leishman is not going to be our leader for much longer. He flies over the back of the 15th then flies his chip through the green and into the water.

He’s replaying the chip…

7.57pm: Little poll over on Twitter…

7.55pm: We are FIVE minutes from live coverage people. I’m going to make a cup of tea. Anyone want one?

7.51pm: Yep.


7.47pm: Eesh.

7.41pm: Birdie for Tiger at 14! And he’s back to +2 and six off the lead.

Here’s our equipment editor James Savage with the lowdown on the gear he’s using this week

7.36pm: Amen.

7.32pm: Well that didn’t last. Leishman drops another birdie and is the first person to reach -4 in the 2018 Masters.

7.27pm: A very happy birthday so far for Henrik Stenson…

7.20pm: Featured groups on the Red Button or watch the coverage build up on the main channel? HELP!

7.18pm: Doesn’t look like Tony Finau’s ankle is causing him any problems. Moves to 1-under.

7.14pm: A common complaint…

7.08pm: Tiger turns his 5 into a 4 thanks to a lovely lengthy putt from the front edge. Falls to +3. He is a combined 9 over par on the 12th in his Masters career.

7.04pm: Tiger drops (legally) and chips on. But still a lot to do for par…

7.01pm: Tiger, meanwhile, is in the drink at 12…

6.58pm: It’s a birdie for McIlroy at the opening hole – his first ever in his Masters career. His pursuit of the Green Jacket off to the perfect start.

6.55pm: Leishman for birdie though… Just drifts wide. He stays at -3 to lead by a single shot.

6.54pm: Tiger Woods – remember him? – is now 2-over thru 11 after kicking off Amen Corner with a bogey after a horrible tee shot.

6.52pm: Rory McIlroy is underway…

6.48pm: Who wants are final Masters Memories video? Well you’re getting it anyway.

6.44pm: 12 straight pars for Matsy. (Wonder if I can get that nickname to stick.)

6.41pm: Tough scoring out there. The last player to shoot in the 70s and lead The Masters after the 1st round was Jack Burke in…


6.35pm: Have you entered this yet?

6.31pm: This one’s easy…

6.28pm: 11 pars in a row for Matsuyama. About as solid as it gets.

6.25pm: How about some early day 1 highlights from Augusta?

6.22pm: Well, who had this? Another birdie for Vijay Singh and he joins Leishman at 3-under!

6.19pm: Still only 8 players under par, but Wiesberger replaces Immelman…

-3 Leishman
-2 Singh, Stenson
-1 Kodaira, Hoffman, Reed, Lyle, Wiesberger

Full leaderboard

6.17pm: How was this a YEAR ago?

6.13pm: Who wants another Masters Memories video? Here’s Mark Townsend talking about everyone’s favourite Welshman…

6.09pm: Casey drains the putt and now he’s looking a little less stroppy.

6.07pm: Paul Casey is throwing a bit of a strop after leaving a bunker shot in the trap. His second is out but it’s a long, long putt ahead of him – and that’s to save bogey…

6pm: Leishman’s birdie putt at 7 is just short. He’ll have to wait to be the first player to -4 in this tournament.

5.58pm: Only 8 players under par…

-3 Leishman
-2 Singh
-1 Kodaira, Hoffman, Reed, Stenson, Lyle, Immelman

Full leaderboard

5.52pm: Lot of people backing Matsuyama. He’s played nine holes and parred all of them.

5.46pm: Leishman to -3!

5.23pm: Marc Leishman clearly not that bothered playing with Tiger. He’s -2 and the solo leader. Tiger at +1, as is Fleetwood, who makes up the three-ball.

4.53pm: Just over two hours until live TV coverage hits our collective screens. Until then, we’ll continue to keep you updated from what’s happening at Augusta. Deal?

4.49pm: Want to check on the live leaderboard? That’s right here.

4.34pm: Tiger Woods BIRDIES the 3rd. Rolls in a nice 10-footer.

4.12pm: So yeah, about that, Tiger…

3.53pm: Vijay Singh leads by three. At what point do we call this thing over?

3.45pm: https://twitter.com/NCGmagazine/status/981905258518581248

3.40pm: Alright. Tiger’s on the first tee. Let’s go.

3.29pm: Time to get excited

3.27pm: Because, why not?

3.12pm: We’re at that point of a golf tournament where we’re watching Tiger stripe balls on the range and being absolutely convinced that he’s going to win. Probably by 8 shots.

2.55pm: Tiger Woods is on the property. Dressed in all black. He means business.

2.30pm: Who’s with Alex?

2.22pm: Wondering when your favourite golfer is playing? Tee times are right here.

1.45pm: The first birdie of the 2018 Masters goes to…Austin Cook. That’s an impressive three at the opening hole!

1.28pm: Tony Finau news…

1.25pm: Looked like Player just edged out Nicklaus to the longest drive. The 2018 Masters is officially underway!

1.02pm: Time for another Masters memories:

12.58pm: Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player are warming up on the range, and coverage of the ceremonial tee shots will be underway very soon…

12.46pm: Pin positions for round one…

12.45pm: Keep an eye out on our social channels today. We’ll be giving away some incredible prizes from Titleist. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

12.30pm: Okay, it’s happening. It’s really happening. ONE HOUR TO GO! Remain calm!

12.05pm: Watch the video below without smiling. It’s impossible.

11.54am: If you remember, this time last year it was touch and go as to whether Dustin Johnson would play after injuring himself falling down the stairs. Hopefully he rented a bungalow this time around.

Anyway, go check out our exclusive interview with him.

11.42am: Here’s another Masters memories video, this time from our Steve Carroll.

Can Lefty win again this year? He’s got a big chance…


11.15am: What makes Augusta National so special? Well, our Mark Townsend visited five years ago (he doesn’t like to talk about it), and he’s explained why the memories are vivid, even now.

11.07am: Of course, we have plenty of betting articles up on the site. Just scroll down a little bit to see the links to them all.

11.00am: Plenty of talk on Twitter this morning about betting. Jordan Spieth is the slight favourite over Rory McIlroy at the moment, but there are so many contenders – it’s incredibly difficult to call! Who’s your money on?

10.40am: Why do we love The Masters so much? As soon as the golf season finishes, we always find ourselves counting down the days to Augusta.

Well, we’ve run a little video series talking about our favourite Masters moments. Here’s the first one – where does this one rank in your Masters memory bank?

10.30am: Told my girlfriend I was lumping our savings on Finau. She’s changed the online banking password and, presumably, the locks on our house. Can I stay at yours tonight?

10.25am: Someone else in the office just said “More like Tony Fin-OW!” He’s been handed his P45.

10.23am: Someone in the office just said “Beware the injured golfer.” So I’ve put my life savings on Tony Finau to win. (Scroll down if you have no idea what I’m on about.)

10.16am: If gear is your thang (I can’t pull that off, can I?) then equipment editor James Savage has all the latest on Tiger Woods…

…Rory McIlroy…

…and everyone else.

10.08am: Last year, Mark Townsend wrote about how he gets through Masters Thursday. It’s very funny. You can read that here.

10am: How is it only 10am?! I feel like I’ve been awake for days. I’ve just had some Weetabix and a nice hot cup of tea. That’ll get me through to lunch, when the wait for live golf will only be 8 hours…

9.51am: Suppose I should read our tipster Steve Carroll’s blogs first, shouldn’t I? There are a few: one on the outright winner and outsiders, one on the nationality markets, one on Tiger Woods, and one on Rory McIlroy.

And golf betting guru Dave Tindall joined us to chat about the best ways to make money from betting on golf. Tips about tips, if you will. It’s a fascinating read, if that’s your kind of thing.

9.50am: Who are you backing this week? I still need to put some bets on. Think I’ll go and have a look now.

9.48am: What’s it like to play at Augusta? Well, our very own Mark Townsend has done just that. In his head, obviously. Here is his hilarious account of that imaginary round.

9.36am: Did you know we have a brand spanking new Fantasy Golf game for this year? It’s been developed completely from scratch by our friends over at Swingform and it’s really very good.

It runs from today at The Masters to the end of the European Tour season at the DP World Tour Championship. We’ve got some unbelievable prizes, too, including a complete makeover from FootJoy for three overall winners, while the top three scorers each week will win vouchers from TeeOffTimes.

Get your team entered here.

9.28am: Watson was using the Callaway Chrome Soft TruVis balls in his victory last night, and we’re giving away a dozen of them over on our Instagram page, so be sure to check that out.

9.21am: The Par 3 was won by 68-year-old Tom Watson, by the way. That will have pleased long-time leader Tommy Fleetwood. No one has ever won the Par 3 then gone on to win the main event.

9.14am: Faced with a short, uphill putt, Bubba Watson flipped his wedge round then did this…

9.08am: Elsewhere at the Par 3 Tournament, it’s tradition for the caddies to have a swing at the 9th. Well, Jack Nicklaus’ grandson was on his bag, and he did this…

I love the bit at the end: “That was my first ever hole-in-one.” Imagine doing it in front of millions watching around the world. And in front of three of the best players of all time?

9.01am: I think we should have an update on the Tony Finau situation, shouldn’t we?

If you didn’t see it, the American was celebrating a hole-in-one at the Masters Par 3 Tournament when he turned his ankle rather badly. So badly, in fact, he was forced to pop it back into its socket. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? The footage is just as bad…

I chose that tweet because I really liked the phrase “like it was a piece of lego”.

Anyway, fingers crossed for Big Tone…

8.55am: Just got to your desk? It’s such a long way to the live coverage, isn’t it? Why not get yourself in the mood with a good old fashioned quiz? We’ve got three, in fact: one on multiple Masters champions, one on Masters champions who brought Augusta to its knees, and, if you’re feeling brave, one on the names of Augusta National’s holes.

8.47am: Good morning everyone. I don’t wish to alarm you but…


OK, calm down. Now, if you’re like us then you’re stuck in the office staring at the clock and wishing the day away. But don’t fear, we will get you through it.

In this live blog, we will aim to keep you entertained as you wait to see that first live shot from the comfort of your sofa. So be sure to check in during the day.

How are you keeping it together today? Tweet us @NCGmagazine and tell us how you’re coping with the longest day of the year for a golf fan in the UK…

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