Masters 2021 Tee Times and Pairings for Augusta National Golf Club Announced

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2021

FILE - Masters golf champion Dustin Johnson shows off his green jacket after his victory in Augusta, Ga., in this Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, file photo. Johnson was sure to send Phil Mickelson a text about his whereabouts next year the night of the champions dinner. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Reigning Masters champion Dustin Johnson will kick off his defense of the green jacket Thursday at 10:30 a.m. ET at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

Johnson was a wire-to-wire winner of the 2020 Masters, holding a share of the lead after the first two rounds before pulling away over the weekend to win the tournament by five strokes. Last year's event was held in November because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it returns to its usual April time slot for 2021.

Here's a look at some of the notable pairings and their tee times for the first two rounds of the 2021 Masters, which were released Tuesday (all times Eastern):

10:06 a.m./1:12 p.m.: Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland

10:30 a.m./1:35 p.m.: Dustin Johnson, Lee Westwood, Tyler Strafaci

10:42 a.m./1:48 p.m.: Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy

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1:36 p.m./10:30 a.m.: Adam Scott, Bryson DeChambeau, Max Homa

1:48 p.m./10:42 a.m.: Tony Finau, Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Thomas

2 p.m./10:54 a.m.: Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith, Collin Morikawa

Johnson will attempt to fend off a long list of challengers for this season's first major title.

While the 36-year-old South Carolina native dominated the field, Bryson DeChambeau disappointed to finish in a distant tie for 34th. It raised further questions about whether the famed course can be tamed when the focus is just on raw power and distance.

DeChambeau remains confident, however, saying the "stress of the tournament" and poor play in areas other than the tee box were to blame for his mediocre performance in November.

"I look at Augusta ... there were plenty of opportunities that I missed with wedging, putting and iron play," he told reporters. "I wouldn't say it was necessarily the driver that got me into trouble for the most part, but definitely there were times where my putter and my wedges and my iron play did."

Jordan Spieth is the other player generating plenty of buzz heading into the Masters coming off his victory in the Valero Texas Open.

Spieth's play had dropped off in recent years—his win in last week's event was his first since the 2017 Open Championship—but he's showed signs of a return to top form this season with top-five finishes in three other events before the breakthrough in Texas.

"When you're coming in form, it's a good feeling when you arrive here, and I've had that a few times,'' Spieth said. "I love being here. I love being on the grounds. It's my favorite tournament in the world. I've expressed that many times here."

Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka, who's making his first start since knee surgery, are among the other top contenders in the star-studded field.