It's difficult enough for Masters participants to battle each other and navigate the treacherous Augusta National in an effort to post low numbers, but when the elements come into play, par suddenly becomes a very good score.
At this time of year, weather can be completely unpredictable in Georgia, as rain, fluctuating temperatures and gusty winds are all prevalent. In 2013, downpours almost forced a Monday finish. In 2007, high winds over the weekend resulted in a Zach Johnson victory at one over par—a tie for the highest winning score in the tournament's history.
So what can we expect this year at Augusta National?
Here's a look at the day-by-day weather forecast for the track, courtesy of Weather.com:
|2015 Masters: Day-by-Day Weather Forecast|
|Info||T-Storms||Partly Cloudy||T-Showers||AM Showers|
|Wind||SSW 9 mph||SSW 13 mph||NW 6 mph||E 10 mph|
Thursday could be an absolute mess.
With expected thunderstorms on the horizon, not only will course conditions be difficult, but the tournament runs the risk of being unable to complete Round 1 play before darkness if there are any delays.
According to the forecast, the thunderstorms are expected to remain scattered throughout the morning hours before gaining consistency in the afternoon. That's a big deal for Day 1 of the Masters, as players with early tee times will likely have an enormous advantage.
Here's a look at some notable morning tee times for Thursday's action:
|2015 Masters: Notable Early Thursday Tee Times|
|Golfer||Tee Time (ET)|
|Patrick Reed||9:02 a.m.|
|Lee Westwood||9:13 a.m.|
|Bubba Watson||9:24 a.m.|
|Justin Rose||9:24 a.m.|
|Adam Scott||9:35 a.m.|
|Dustin Johnson||9:35 a.m.|
Those players should see the most lenient weather on Thursday, and the likes of Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and J.B. Holmes shouldn't be terribly affected with late-morning tee times. Unfortunately, there are some other notable golfers who could be in for a long day.
Jason Day, Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler comprise the day's final grouping with a tee time of 1:59 p.m. Tiger Woods and Jimmy Walker tee off just before them. Expectations for those players should be adjusted if the weather forecast remains the same.
Luckily, Friday shouldn't pose any kind of issues as far as weather is concerned, giving players a great chance to make up any ground before the cut. The field will need to take full advantage of the Day 2 weather, as conditions are expected to worsen over the weekend.
Saturday figures to be extremely intriguing, as showers throughout the morning and a possible thunderstorm should subside by the afternoon. This may allow the 36-hole leaders to increase the distance between themselves and the field, as their late tee times should provide relief from the early inclement conditions.
We will see more of the same for Sunday's finale. Showers will be prevalent at Augusta National in the morning but will disperse before the afternoon. This could make for some very good scoring conditions, as soft conditions will allow the greens to hold and players to take dead aim at pin locations. If that's the case, we should expect some fireworks down the tournament's final stretch.
Keep a keen eye on these conditions as the Masters draws nearer, as changes in the forecast may continue to affect the outlook for the year's first major.