Countdown to the Masters

Golf News

It's been a long, long wait - 249 days, in fact. But the Masters is almost here, and we're trying to keep you entertained...

Helpful links: Tee times | Weather forecast | TV schedule

Please refresh your page for updates.

Masters Microsite Banner

8.06pm: And there we have it. The countdown to the Masters is over. Now head off and enjoy the live action. I know I will.

Remember to check out our dedicated Masters microsite, with some incredible features from the likes of Mark Townsend, Paul Mahoney and the rest of the NCG team. It’s certainly worth a look.

Enjoy!

8.05pm: GOLF! WE HAVE LIVE GOLF! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

8.03pm: More from DJ here.

I want to play. I’m playing the best golf of my life.

8.00pm: Starting to feel a bit nervous now…

7.55pm: Rory adds another bogey at three – but he’s only four off the lead. Weird day.

7.50pm: Surely we’re going to get some live golf soon. SURELY.

7.47pm: Dustin Johnson on his injury and how it happened:

It sucks real bad. I was wearing my socks and slipped. My left elbow is bruised as well.

It hurts, my left lower back. I just can’t swing.

More from DJ here.

7.43pm: It’s now 15 AND WE STILL DON’T HAVE LIVE GOLF.

7.40pm: Jordan Spieth is one of those 14. Just sayin’.

7.39pm: Make that 14.

7.37pm: I mean, it’s not like there are THIRTEEN players tied for the lead or anything…

7.35pm: They showed Rory hit a putt! Maybe we’re about to… oh it’s an ad break.

7.33pm: With all the respect in the world to Mr Palmer…

7.30pm: SHOW US SOME GOLF. SHOW US SOME GOLF. SHOW US SOME GOLF. SHOW US SOME GOLF. SHOW US SOME GOLF. SHOW US SOME GOLF. SHOW US SOME GOLF. SHOW US SOME GOLF. SHOW US SOME GOLF. SHOW US SOME GOLF. SHOW US SOME GOLF. SHOW US SOME GOLF. SHOW US SOME GOLF.

(Please.)

7.27pm: JUST SHOW US SOME GOLF.

7.26pm: This.

7.23pm: McIlroy opens with a bogey. Wonder if he knows about DJ?

7.16pm: On a personal level, I had money on DJ and he’s in my fantasy team. #PrayforAlex

7.13pm: What a huge, huge shame that is. For DJ, for golf fans, and for the Masters. But what a boost for the likes of Rory, Jordan and co.

7.09pm: Official.

7.05pm: DUSTIN JOHNSON HAS PULLED OUT OF THE MASTERS.

7.03pm: HUGE roar for Jordan Spieth as he clears the water at 12. Now that’s that out the way with…

6.59pm: What do you reckon?

6.55pm: While we’re all distracted by DJ, Jordan Spieth is on his way to the 12th tee…

6.50pm: Ooooooooo………

6.48pm: Hmm… (DJ is due to be off in 15 minutes and hasn’t hit a putt yet.)

6.45pm: Rory’s on the course. Now the party’s started…

6.40pm: DJ’s hitting driver on the range, but caddie (and brother) Austin is teeing up his ball for him…

6.35pm: DJ pulling out the big dog on the range…

6.33pm: DJ will attempt to play, according to ESPN’s Bob Harig.

6.31pm: So, only three more groups left to go out: Rory McIlroy, Hideto Tanihara and Jon Rahm at 6.41pm;
Marc Leishman, Bill Haas and Justin Thomas at 6.52pm; then Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker and Dustin Johnson, if he makes it, at 7.03pm.

6.29pm: DJ is back on the range. Now hitting mid-irons…

6.25pm: Shall we have another one of our Masters Memories clips? And… oh, it’s my one. No prizes for guessing what I talked about…

6.23pm: Danny Willett is three holes into his title defence – and he’s opened double bogey, bogey, birdie. Remember his brother Pete will be taking over our Twitter feed at 9pm.

6.21pm: Add Kevin Chappell to that group! He birdies the par-3 16th and now there are four at the top.

6.18pm: Ouch. Double bogey for Thomas Pieters and his first experience of Amen Corner has not been a pleasant one. Pieters, Andy Sullivan and Rickie Fowler all tied for the lead at two under now.

6.13pm: DJ is on his way back to the clubhouse having only hit a few irons and wedges on the range, according to multiple reports. That might not be good…

6.10pm: Uh oh. Pieters, after his bogey on 11, dunks it in the drink at 12…

6.07pm: Bogey for Thomas Pieters at 11 and he’s back to four under. One hole ahead, Andy Sullivan birdies and he’s the Belgian’s lead is now two over his Ryder Cup team-mate.

6.03pm: DUSTIN JOHNSON IS ON THE RANGE. It looks like he’ll at least start when his group go out in exactly one hour.

6.00pm: Just one hour until the coverage starts on Sky Sports. Now, shall I watch the official film of Danny Willett’s win last year, or The Chase on ITV +1?

5.58pm: We’re still giving away a copy of Tiger’s new book. Go here to find out how you can win.

5.46pm: Well. I didn’t see it. But you get me, yeah?

5.45pm: Sorry about that short break. I fell over after seeing Thomas Pieters go three clear.

5:24pm: What could possibly go wrong? Make sure you tune into our twitter feed this evening from 9pm…

5:15pm: Fellow Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts isn’t very happy with the lack of leader coverage…

5.01pm: We may have just seen the celebration of the tournament already… step forward Martin Kaymer.

4.50pm: Didn’t get that last dingbat? It was Tyrrell Hatton, obviously!

4.41pm: Some news for Dustin Johnson fans: According to Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis, he is “cautiously optimistic” of making his tee time and his physio has told him to “play at 75%”. (So only 350-yard drives, then…)

The World No. 1 is in the final group going out at 7.03pm UK time.

4.39pm: No one?

4.35pm: We had this dingbat tweeted to us and it took us ages to get it. It’s a doozy…

4.28pm: Shall we have another Masters Memories clip. Here’s Mark Townsend gushing over Ian Woosnam for 66 seconds…

4.19pm: Who do you think will win? And who do you think will flop? And what are you most looking forward to at the Masters? The NCG team had their say and you can read it here.

4.12pm: Back-to-back birdies for Thomas Pieters and he’s the first player to reach three under for the 2017 Masters.

4.06pm: I’m not going to do leaderboard updates, because it changes too often. Scott Piercy, Thomas Pieters and Rickie Fowler have birdies at nine, four and three respectively and they’re leading at two under.

4.02pm: Alright, alright. It was Daniel Summerhays. Get it? Summerhays. Some are hays. OH FORGET IT.

3.56pm: While you think about it, here’s what’s happening at Augusta: The lead is shared by five players – JB Holmes (WHO I HAVE IN THE OFFICE SWEEPSTAKE), Andy Sullivan, Fred Couples (!), Russell Knox and Rickie Fowler.

A surprise at the other end, where Louis Oosthuizen went to four over through five, but a birdie at six and the South African is back to three over.

3.54pm: It’s a toughie.

3.52pm: This was a good Masters Dingbats entry…

3.43pm: Let’s catch up with Mark Townsend:

My early start has left me gasping for fresh air and so I take myself to the driving range. For the next 50 balls I play Augusta National – just drives and approaches, even I’m unable to recreate the putting – and I blaze round in an opening 69. A perfect start, just a modicum of interest from the worldwide media and a bit more from the local press and I’m safely inside the top 15 – and I haven’t even had the best half of the draw. Me and the rest of Team Townsend can now spend the afternoon “watching the other guys struggle”, said with a knowing chuckle, from our rented accommodation while maybe having a little snooze. “Yeah, I didn’t sleep too great,” I say with another chuckle and a slight American twang. I’ve only been in the States six days.

If you haven’t read the full piece, sort it out. It’s just a click of these letters away.

3.31pm: Who wants another Masters Memories? This one is from NCG editor Dan Murphy…

3.22pm: Far too easy but my colleague Matthew spent most of the morning on it, so

3.16pm: JB HOLMES IS LEADING THE MASTERS AND I HAVE HIM IN THE NCG SWEEPSTAKE.

3.05pm: Football hard-man turned Hollywood hard-man Vinnie Jones is getting involved.

2.54pm: OK so apparently a score in the 70s has led after the first round at the Masters on just four occasions – the last of which was Jack Burke’s 71 in 1957. Eesh.

2.47pm: Scoring conditions looking really tough out there. Could a player who shoots in the 70s lead come the end of the day. That hasn’t happened since… uh, a long time. Hang on I’ll look…

2.40pm: This is superb…

2.30pm: I think Mr Murphy is forgetting then Amateur champion Tiger Woods opened with a front-nine 40 in 1997.

2.29pm: Actually, this happened…

2.25pm: Nothing’s happening at Augusta because Zach Johnson is taking three weeks to play his approach to the first.

2.19pm: That Masters Dingbats was Toto Gana, by the way. Who got it?

2.10pm: Here you go – Steve’s tips for you to back…

1.54pm: Our Twitter is @NCGmagazine if you want to come watch.

1.53pm: Right, I’m off to do a quick Twitter live with our betting expert Steve Carroll. Here’s a more tricky Masters Dingbats to keep you occupied for 10 minutes…

1.50pm: Colleague Craig Middleton is throwing things around the office and shouting things in Geordie.

1.45pm: Of course it was Lee Westwood!

1.41pm: Easy, really, wasn’t it? Jason Day, duh. How about this one?

1.35pm: A Masters Dingbats entry courtesy of a Twitter follower…

1.27pm: The first birdie of the 2017 Masters goes to Russell Henley. WHY DIDN’T YOU BACK HIM?!

1.14pm: Literally 46 seconds until the first right answer came in. It’s Justin Thomas, if you haven’t got it already.

1.13pm: Now the party’s started…

1.00pm: Russell Henley and Daniel Summerhays are on the first tee BUT WE CAN’T WATCH IT BECAUSE, Y’KNOW, RIGHTS AND STUFF.

12.48pm: Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus smack their balls down the middle and the 2017 Masters is officially underway.

Now, how shall we fill the next eight hours or so? How about some fun and games? Keep with me through the afternoon. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

But first. Lunch.

12.44pm: And this…

12.43pm: A beautiful moment…

12.40pm: GOLF! THERE IS GOLF HAPPENING! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

12.36pm: We all want to see DJ pull through, right?

12.30pm: TEN MINUTES UNTIL THE CEREMONIAL TEE SHOTS!

12.18pm: Can you believe it’s been 20 years since Tiger Woods won the Masters for the first time. Paul Mahoney was there, and this is his account of that day. Imagine witnessing that.

12.06pm: It’s lunchtime, so to get into the Masters spirit why not make your own pimento cheese sandwich?

I’ve put together this quick five-step guide for you:

Step 1: Take one slice of bread.
Step 2: Take some pimento cheese.
Step 3: Take another slice of bread.
Step 4: Cut in half, triangles or rectangles – you choose.
Step 5: Eat.

Voila!

11.53am: So, remember Tiger Woods was promoting his new book, Unprecedented: The Masters and Me, a couple of weeks back? Well, it’s been released in the UK and our friends at Little, Brown Publishing have given us five – FIVE! – copies to give away to you lovely lot. Head over to this page to read a wonderful excerpt from the book and find out how to win a copy.

11.42am: 58 MINUTES… OK I’ll stop.

11.41am: 59 MINUTES UNTIL THE CEREMONIAL TEE SHOTS!

11.40am: ONE HOUR UNTIL THE CEREMONIAL TEE SHOTS!

11.29am: So there you have it. Danny Willett’s brother, Pete, will be taking over the NCG Twitter account from 9pm this evening. If you want to read his previous work to let you know what you’re in for, you can find it here.

11.28am: Oh, he’s gone and blown it…

11.14am: We’ve done a series of Masters Memories videos. Here’s NCG equipment editor James Savage’s…

11.04am: Told my girlfriend I was lumping our savings on Dustin. She’s changed the online banking password and, presumably, the locks on our house.

10:57am: Oh my. It’s worse than I thought. Send help. Anyone. ANYONE.

10:55am: Shall we check in and see how Mark Townsend’s day is going?

10.42am: The Masters website says: “For the first time, we will offer a live broadcast of chairman Billy Payne’s welcoming remarks and the ceremonial drives.”

OF COURSE WE’RE GOING TO WATCH IT.

(From about 12.40pm onwards, if, like us, you’ll watch anything Masters related.)

10.34am: Someone in the office just said “Beware the injured golfer.” So I’ve put my life savings on Dustin to win.

10.25am: Jeez Louise. (Who’s Louise? I’ve always wondered.) Anyway, look at this…

10.18am: Oh, and this…

10.01am: For those of you into your equipment, what is Rory McIlroy going to be playing with this week?

9.44am: Do you like podcasts? We do a podcast. This week was a Masters special. Slip your earphones in and have a listen.

It’s me, joined by Mark Townsend and Steve Carroll and we discuss all the important talking points surrounding the Masters: Who would caddie for you at the Par 3? Who would you play a practice round with? And what would you wear on Sunday? Quite how Ant & Dec ended up being involved I’ll never know…

9.34am: As you can see at the top of the page, I’ve left some handy links for you, including the tee times, weather forecast (for Augusta, obviously), and a TV schedule so you can plan your Masters viewing from start to finish.

And that lovely banner you see? It takes you through to our fancy dedicated Masters microsite which is very pretty indeed.

9.27am: So who is your money on? NCG’s resident betting expert and all-round bloody good bloke Steve Carroll has some advice for you. Here’s his tips to win the whole thing, some good value players flying under the radar at Augusta, some good first-round leader bets, and three-ball match-ups. Gamble responsibly etc. etc.

9.15am: This.

8.57am: We like this idea…

8.53am: How is it only 8.53am? I’ve just had some Shredded Wheat. Not the start to the day I imagined. My colleague, Mark Townsend, has quite the day on Masters Thursday, and he’s put together this hilarious account of his day. Sound familiar?

8.45am: If you missed it before you went to bed last night, Dustin Johnson took a “serious fall” at his rented Augusta home. We’ll keep you updated throughout the day.

8.41am: Good morning everyone. We don’t wish to alarm you but…

THE MASTERS STARTS TODAY!

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…

More from NCG at the Masters...

Previous article
Next article
Top