Meanwhile punters fearing their Masters ante-post bets on Jon Rahm would fall even before he tees off on Thursday were delighted to hear that the Spaniard’s wife gave birth on Saturday.
Rahm, the world No 3, had previously announced he would miss the first major of the year if Kelley was likely to go into labour. She was due the second week of April. “I would never miss the birth of my first-born in a million years,” Rahm said.
But in an Instagram post, Rahm, 26, revealed the good news, saying that baby boy Kepa was |in great health”. “He is 7.2lb and 20.5in, big boy from the Basque Country,” Rahm said. “Without a doubt the greatest day of my life!”
When Rahm will arrive here is unclear, although when he does be sure that he will be quizzed about “The Nappy Factor”, the supposed bounce that new fathers enjoy on the course. In 2016, Danny Willett famously became the first Englishman to don a green jacket just a week after Zac was born, adding substance to theory of Keith Elliott.
In “The Golf Form Book 1996” the Liverpudlian betting analyst posited his “Nappy Factor” hypothesis. The retired economics lecturer had put in years of painstaking research and cited several beneficiaries including Jack Nicklaus Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman and Nick Price. “I’m not sure why, but it’s most potent with sons as the first child,” Elliott told the Daily Telegraph.
When is it?
The Masters gets under way on Thursday, April 8.
What time will the action start?
Last year’s tee times were slightly different due to the daylight hours in November, but we will back to a more familiar schedule this year.
When the Masters was held in April in 2019 the first round began at 1.30pm UK time. Full television coverage will not start until much later, although there will be featured group coverage available via the red button. The final groups will begin at 7pm and so the action win finish around 11.30pm UK time. It should be an hour or so earlier on Sunday.
What are the first-round tee times?
USA unless stated, all times BST, (x) denotes amateurs
13:00 M Thompson, H Swafford
13:12 S Lyle (Sco), M Jones (Aus), D Frittelli (Rsa)
13:24 I Woosnam (Wal), J Herman, S Cink
13:36 S Munoz (Col), H Stenson (Swe), R Streb
13:48 B Langer (Ger), W Zalatoris, (x) J Long (Eng)
14:00 B Harman, I Poulter (Eng), B Todd
14:12 C Schwartzel (Rsa), Si Woo Kim (Kor), C Conners (Can)
14:24 D Willett (Eng), J Niemann (Chl), K Kisner
14:36 J Day (Aus), M Wolff, C Champ
14:48 H Matsuyama (Jpn), H English, A Ancer (Mex)
15:06 B Watson, B Koepka, V Hovland (Nor)
15:18 S Garcia (Esp), W Simpson, C Bezuidenhout (Rsa)
15:30 D Johnson, L Westwood (Eng), (x) T Strafaci
15:42 X Schauffele, J Rahm (Esp), R McIlroy (NIrl)
15:54 P Reed, D Berger, P Casey (Eng)
16:06 V Singh (Fij), M Laird (Sco)
16:18 L Mize, J Walker, B Gay
16:30 C Ortiz (Mex), M Hughes (Can), B Wiesberger (Aut)
16:42 M Weir (Can), CT Pan (Tai), R MacIntyre (Sco)
16:54 J M Olazabal (Esp), M Wallace (Eng), L Griffin
17:12 V Perez (Fra), J Kokrak, M Leishman (Aus)
17:24 F Couples, F Molinari (Ita), (x) C Osborne
17:36 Z Johnson, K Na, G Woodland
17:48 S Lowry (Irl), J Rose (Eng), M Kuchar
18:00 B Horschel, T Hatton (Eng), R Palmer
18:12 P Mickelson, T Fleetwood (Eng), S Scheffler
18:24 P Cantlay, Sungjae Im (Kor), M Fitzpatrick (Eng)
18:36 A Scott (Aus), B DeChambeau, M Homa
18:48 T Finau, L Oosthuizen (Rsa), J Thomas
19:00 J Spieth, C Smith (Aus), C Morikawa
What are the second-round tee times?
USA unless stated, all times BST, (x) denotes amateurs
13:00 V Singh (Fij), M Laird (Sco)
13:12 L Mize, J Walker, B Gay
13:24 C Ortiz (Mex), M Hughes (Can), B Wiesberger (Aut)
13:36 M Weir (Can), CT Pan (Tai), R MacIntyre (Sco)
13:48 J M Olazabal (Esp), M Wallace (Eng), L Griffin
14:00 V Perez (Fra), J Kokrak, M Leishman (Aus)
14:12 F Couples, F Molinari (Ita), (x) C Osborne
14:24 Z Johnson, K Na, G Woodland
14:36 S Lowry (Irl), J Rose (Eng), M Kuchar
14:48 B Horschel, T Hatton (Eng), R Palmer
15:06 P Mickelson, T Fleetwood (Eng), S Scheffler
15:18 P Cantlay, Sungjae Im (Kor), M Fitzpatrick (Eng)
15:30 A Scott (Aus), B DeChambeau, M Homa
15:42 T Finau, L Oosthuizen (Rsa), J Thomas
15:54 J Spieth, C Smith (Aus), C Morikawa
16:06 M Thompson, H Swafford
16:18 S Lyle (Sco), M Jones (Aus), D Frittelli (Rsa)
16:30 I Woosnam (Wal), J Herman, S Cink
16:42 S Munoz (Col), H Stenson (Swe), R Streb
16:54 B Langer (Ger), W Zalatoris, (x) J Long (Eng)
17:12 B Harman, I Poulter (Eng), B Todd
17:24 C Schwartzel (Rsa), Si Woo Kim (Kor), C Conners (Can)
17:36 D Willett (Eng), J Niemann (Chl), K Kisner
17:48 J Day (Aus), M Wolff, C Champ
18:00 H Matsuyama (Jpn), H English, A Ancer (Mex)
18:12 B Watson, B Koepka, V Hovland (Nor)
18:24 S Garcia (Esp), W Simpson, C Bezuidenhout (Rsa)
18:36 D Johnson, L Westwood (Eng), (x) T Strafaci
18:48 X Schauffele, J Rahm (Esp), R McIlroy (NIrl)
19:00 P Reed, D Berger, P Casey (Eng)
What TV channel is it on?
Sky Sports have exclusive live coverage on their dedicated Masters channel. Global broadcast restrictions mean that full live coverage will begin from 7.30pm over the first two days, 8pm on Saturday and 7pm on Sunday.
Coverage of the featured groups and featured holes – 11, 12 and 13 as well as 15 and 16 – will begin via the red button from 2pm over the first two days. There will also be live featured coverage of the 4th, 5th and 6th.
Alternatively, you can return to our golf page on Thursday to follow your favourite players with our live blog.
What are the latest odds?
Dustin Johnson 9/1
The defending champion and the World No 1. No player has successfully defended the Masters since Tiger Woods in 2002. Was in sensational form late last year but aside from a top-10 at the Genesis Invitational there has not been much to shout about in 2021.
Bryson DeChambeau 10/1
The big-hitter did not reduce Augusta to a ‘par 67’ as he predicted last year, but is the reigning US Open champion and won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at a difficult Bay Hill last month. A less noisy build-up this week could be an advantage.
Jordan Spieth 12/1
An Augusta specialist, winning the Masters in 2015, and now back in the winners’ circle for the first time since 2017 after victory at the Valero Texas Open. How much will that take out of him? Some of his iron play has been impressive but the odd destructive drive still lurks.
Jon Rahm 12/1
The Spaniard is a major champion in waiting and has no real weaknesses. Could be the beneficiary of the much feted ‘nappy factor’ after his wife Kelley gave birth to a baby boy. Danny Willett won the Masters in 2016 just days after his wife gave birth.
The Players Champion and his towering iron shots and right-to-left shape look tailor made for Augusta. His Masters record reads: T-30, T-22, T-17, T-12 and fourth. Things are trending in the right direction.
Rory McIlory 18/1
Working with coach Pete Cowen to iron out some gremlins in his swing, and it would be a surprise if McIlroy slipped on his first Green jacket come Sunday evening. Has five top-10s at the Masters so knows his way around.
Patrick Cantlay 22/1
Super consistent and plays well on classical golf courses having won at Muirfield Village previously. Produced a great back nine burst in 2019 when he finished in the top-10 after shooting 64 and 68 on the weekend.
Xander Schauffele 22/1
Tends to save his best golf for majors but has not shown much in recent starts after going close at Torrey Pines and in Phoenix in the year’s early weeks.
Brooks Koepka 25/1
Has suffered from injury problems but does have a win and a runner-up on his 2021 results sheet. Yet to win the Masters but has finishes of T-11, T-2 and T-7 in the last three years.
Collin Morikawa 25/1
A wonderful iron player and last year’s USPGA Champion. Won the WGC event at the Concession in February and ranks first on the PGA Tour for strokes gained on approach.
What is our prediction?
We think the most likely winner is Justin Thomas. He ticks all the boxes: has course form, a victory this season, and the strength of his game is his approach shots which is the most important facet of the game at Augusta National. Will surely win at least one jacket before his career is out. Morikawa, Sungjae Im and Cameron Smith are other players to keep an eye on.
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