Forget groundhogs, the Masters Tournament is the real indication that spring has arrived. And it's finally here.
The 2014 version of the Masters might not include Tiger Woods, but the rest of golf's best will embark upon Augusta National Golf Club in the quest to win golf's richest tradition. There will be no shortage of world-class golfers and exciting developments at the top of the leaderboard to keep the viewers on edge.
With the year's first major available as well as a green jacket, everything is on the line for these golfers, and one will permanently etch his name into the exclusive fraternity of Masters champions.
Here's all of the information you need to catch Thursday's opening-round action and some early predictions.
Day 1 Viewing Information
When: Thursday, April 10 from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Ga.
Stream: Masters Live
Day 1 Predictions
Adam Scott Will Pick Up Where He Left Off
There hasn't been a back-to-back Masters winner since Woods accomplished that feat in 2001 and 2002. But Adam Scott casts upon Augusta trying to change that, and he will come out blazing on Day 1.
There was no Masters hangover for Scott after the first major win of his career last April, as he played well at both the British Open and PGA Championship. But he will be insistent on proving that he can take momentum from his impressive 2013 and turn it into more wins in 2014.
For a career that saw plenty of shortcomings and near victories before making the ascension in 2013, Scott has all the motivation in the world to come out hot.
After Thursday, he'll take the top spot on the leaderboard as he begins outside chatter for what would be a second green jacket.
Another Inconsistent Start for Rory
Majors typically go really well for Rory McIlroy, or really badly for Rory McIlroy. And considering his lack of success at Augusta, I'm going with the latter.
The 24-year-old makes the sport unfair for the rest of the field when he's on his game, but Augusta hasn't been kind to him ever since his final-round, back-nine collapse in 2011.
He finished tied for 40th there in 2012, 25th in 2013 and wasn't a factor over the weekend in either.
McIlroy will have plenty of time to bounce back from a bad Thursday, but it wouldn't be an ideal start for a golfer who has built the reputation for playing inconsistently.
Angel Cabrera Will Stay Near Top of Leaderboard
The 44-year-old sensation that is Angel Cabrera lives for major tournaments—specifically the Masters.
After a three-way sudden-death playoff, Cabrera won his first green jacket in 2009 in epic fashion. But that wasn't even his first major victory—the Argentinian golfer also took the 2007 U.S. Open.
Cabrera has been a mainstay at the top of the leaderboard at Augusta in recent years, and that is what makes him such a unique contender in this setting. He was in the final pairing Sunday in 2011 and was in position to win last year before Scott held him off in an exciting playoff finish.
If there's anyone to bet on showing up on Day 1, it's Cabrera. He's as experienced as anyone on the course, and coming so close to winning a second green jacket certainly has him itching for another Masters win.
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