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2020 Masters Preview

On the Range Blog

Here’s something no one in golf’s history thought would be said: it’s almost November and we’re gearing up for the Masters – and not the one happening next April.

Yes, like so many things in our lives, due to COVID-19, the 2020 Masters is taking place in November, November 12-15 to be precise.

While Augusta National went through its traditional time through the summer with no member play, it had a magical 10-day turnaround from brown to green and the Masters Tournament has been slowly releasing videos on social media over the last week or so showing what’s to be expected for this year.

“For more than 80 years, the Masters Tournament has been a rite of spring,” NBC Sports broadcaster Jimmy Roberts says in the first video posted to the Masters’ Twitter account in mid-October as a lead up to the 2020 tournament.

“And although this November will pass without patrons, with roars replaced by reflection, like for the rest of the world there is hope that in time the things we cherish most will feel familiar to us again. And, our annual ‘traditional unlike any other,’ for one year at least, will be a fall classic.”

So no patrons at the Masters this year, no Par-3 Contest, no amateur events hosted around the world as qualifiers, and no Augusta National Women’s Amateur either. Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player will kick things off Thursday, as they normally do. But the groups of three on Thursday and Friday will play off the first and 10th tees, in order to make sure there is enough light for all competitors to get through. Television times have been adjusted to coincide with both college football and the NFL on Sunday.

Another new thing for 2020? There are four Canadians in the field – the most ever.

Mike Weir, Canadian PGA Tour Player

Mike Weir, Canadian PGA Tour Player

Mike Weir – who says the Champions Dinner on Tuesday night is still a go, with Tiger Woods as host, despite some changes to the layout and number of attendees due to COVID-19 – is the elder statesman and has already arranged a practice round on Tuesday with himself and the other three.

Corey Conners is there, for the third time. He qualified once as an amateur and played in 2015 alongside Weir. This is his second Masters in a row, as last year he was the final guy in the field – qualifying after his victory at the Valero Texas Open the week prior.

Adam Hadwin as well, who played in 2017 and 2018 but did not qualify in 2019. He’s had solid results (T36, T24) and says the course suits his game.

Finally we’ve got Nick Taylor, who is making his Masters debut. Taylor captured the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in November after a Sunday duel with Phil Mickelson, and earned a spot in what was to be April’s Masters. His debut will be unlike any other, as there will be minimal pomp and circumstance outside the ropes.

PGA Tour Player, Corey Connors

Corey Connors, Canadian PGA Tour Player

PGA Tour Player, Nick Taylor

Nick Taylor, Canadian PGA Tour Player

PGA Tour Player, Adam Hadwin

Adam Hadwin, Canadian PGA Tour Player

But for all the differences in the Masters for 2020, Tiger Woods is still the defending champion, and a winner will slip into a Green Jacket come Sunday afternoon.

Tiger Woods is the defending Masters champion in 2020 – there’s another thing many people thought would never be said.

Despite the time of year, it’ll still make for a compelling week. There are a handful of favourites with solid storylines hoping to unfold, with big-name stars all looking to add a Green Jacket to their closet. Take Rory McIlroy, for example. He’s trying to win the Grand Slam.

Jordan Spieth is trying to win another Masters and break out of a multi-year slump.

Brooks Koepka is returning from injury and looking for major number five.

Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Jason Day, and Sergio Garcia are all trying to add a second major to their resume.

The golf world is waiting to see if Bryson DeChambeau can bash his way around Augusta National and win his second major in three months. And, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, and Tyrell Hatton – ranked inside the top-10 in the world, all – are looking for major number one.

There will be birds and trees and green jackets, just maybe not as much pimento cheese.

But in 2020, we have a Masters Tournament – and that in itself should be worth celebrating.

Written and intended to the audience by Adam Stanley