The prospect of watching a Sunday of the Masters without Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson may seem depressing, disappointing and downright strange. But that doesn’t mean it will be any less entertaining thanks to a tight race atop the leaderboard headed by 2012 champion Bubba Watson and first-timer Jordan Spieth, who would be the youngest champion ever at just 20 years old.
With so much to follow, here is how the leaderboard stands followed by where you can catch all the action and some predictions for the final day of golf’s most storied tournament.
Where to Watch
|Masters TV Coverage|
|9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.||Live from The Masters||Golf Channel|
|2 p.m. to 7 p.m.||The Masters||CBS|
You can also watch using the free live streaming coverage on the official Masters website.
Players to Watch
If Bubba Watson was nervous about playing on golf’s biggest stage, he didn’t seem uptight before he started play on Day 3, asking the Twittersphere various pieces of golf trivia:
Nerves (or at least overthinking) did get the better of him on the course, however. After a blistering start to the tournament (thanks to a 69 and 68 in Rounds 1 and 2), Watson opened Day 3 with four bogeys in the first seven holes, giving up ground to a slew of hungry challengers that are eager to get fitted for that prestigious green jacket.
Alex Perry of ESPN broke down his day nicely:
It was a mixed round for Watson with more lows than highs. He opened with a bogey at the tricky par-4 first before a shot-of-the-day contender at the second to set up his first eagle of the week.
But bogeys followed at four, six and seven and Watson cut a frustrated figure at the turn. He knew he had blown a chance really add to his overnight three-shot lead—with others around him taking advantage of the good scoring conditions on the front nine.
Watson will, however, gain hope from the fact he played the far more difficult back nine in level par - with a birdie at 10 cancelled out by a dropped shot at 16.
Despite the fact that Watson missed out on an opportunity to extend his lead and create some separation at the top of the leaderboard, he is still tied for first place and will be a force to be reckoned with thanks to his unrivaled distance off the tee.
Improving consistency with his putter is a necessity for the 2012 champion to join the short list of multiple winners at Augusta, but if Watson can do that he’ll be in a great position.
Jordan Spieth’s meteoric rise to the top of the leaderboard entering the last day of the Masters has been a huge story for a tournament that desperately needed one, as Christine Brennan of USA TODAY expounds:
A major tournament that is so desperately in need of a serious jolt of star power without having either Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson here on the weekend for the first time in 20 years now just might have it in Spieth. Were he to win, he would become the youngest Masters champion ever, beating Tiger, circa 1997, by nearly seven months. If you're missing a couple of big-name veterans, replacing them with the newest new thing isn't a bad alternative.
Just how crazy and fast has Spieth’s ascent been? Justin Ray of ESPN gives us some context:
But the Masters won’t have its feel-good ending unless Spieth can handle the pressure and continue his solid play.
Spieth has been consistent, shooting under par in every round (71, 70 and 70). But Sunday at the Masters is going to test his confidence, focus and poise like nothing he has ever faced before on the golf course.
We saw Rory McIlroy collapse after leading on the back nine in a similar situation in 2011, so the biggest challenge for Spieth will be keeping his emotions in check.
If he can, these are the accomplishments that await him along with the fabled green jacket:
Matt Kuchar doesn’t have a major championship under his belt, but as Steve DiMeglio of USA TODAY points out, he’s definitely due:
Many in golf's circles contend that Kuchar is the best player without a major championship on his resume. He's won a Players Championship and he's had the most top-10s on the Tour since the start of the 2010 season. He has finished in the top-8 in the Masters the past two seasons.
Kuchar has the experience and solid all-around game to create problems, and he’s in excellent form after a second-place finish at the Shell Houston Open where he led the field in greens in regulation per PGATour.com.
If he can win the tournament, Kuchar will be only the second person to win the Masters after trailing by more than six strokes after 36 holes in Augusta.