Mother Nature has a chance at intervening during at least the first day of the 2013 Masters Tournament, but Augusta National should otherwise be in the clear for the year's first major.
In looking at the forecast provided by AccuWeather.com, Thursday's action may be postponed due to a 59-percent chance of rain in which severe thunderstorms are expected. Friday's prospective Round 2 may also bring rainfall, although it would only be in the morning. The chances of that happening are projected at 35 percent.
UPDATE: Thursday, April 11 at 3:40 p.m. ET by Matt Fitzgerald
Renowned golf writer Ron Sirak provides the latest weather projections for Augusta, and the forecast suggests that the year's first major will continue running smoothly:
Ron Sirak @ronsirak
Strong storms predicted for 7-9 pm, which would be great timing for @The_Masters 1st round over and time to fix course before 2nd round.4/11/2013, 3:06:50 PM
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UPDATE: Wednesday, April 10 at 1:20 p.m. ET by Matt Fitzgerald
The chances of rainfall seem to be increasing, as the latest from AccuWeather.com indicates a 67 percent chance of thunderstorms, some of which would be severe. The likelihood increases to roughly 75 percent overnight, which would continue into Friday morning. Thankfully, the weekend still looks promising and sunny.
---End of update---
Should the severe thunderstorms happen—compounded with early rain on Friday—the tournament may not only be delayed, but also drastically change the way players attack.
Softer conditions would lend to more receptive greens, which means players could be much more aggressive than usual in firing at flagsticks, since the ball will stop sooner. However, Augusta isn't necessarily the most intimidating course in terms of length.
That's part of what makes the event so exciting, but a damp course would give a massive advantage to longer hitters.
On the other hand, winds are set to gust to as high as 17 or 18 miles per hour. That much breeze will make approach shots tricky, even when those with superior length have short clubs in their hands.
Augusta.com provides a bit of history on how weather has affected this event and notes that The Masters' early spring starting time leaves it particularly vulnerable to inconsistent weather.
An entire round hasn't been completely lost due to rain since 1983, though. Despite the ominous forecast ahead of the weekend, there isn't much reason to think it would happen three decades later.
Saturday and Sunday look extremely promising, and if holes need to be made up over those two days, it seems perfectly feasible.
Temperatures are set to hover in the mid 80s on Tuesday and on Wednesday during the Par 3 Contest but will drop by approximately three degrees each day thereafter. The final-round action will return to a high of 80 degrees.
So even if the conditions are soggy to start, the most important portion of the tournament should be relatively intact in terms of weather.
Winds won't be howling as much, which will only further level the playing field. By then, conditions should be dried out, which will open up plenty of possibilities on moving day and coming around Amen Corner Sunday.
Expect sunshine and a sensational finish as the world's best golfers pursue the green jacket over the final 36 holes.