2019 Masters: Severe weather threat forces historic early tee time, cancellation of green jacket ceremony
By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
April 14, 2019, 11:55:14 AM EDT
The threat of thunderstorms, some of which can be severe, around Augusta, Georgia, prompted officials to alter the schedule for Sunday's much-anticipated final round of the 83rd Masters Tournament.
With the possibility of severe weather impacting play on Sunday afternoon, tournament officials announced Saturday that groupings and tee times for the final round were adjusted.
"For the first time ever on the final day of the Tournament, tee times were moved up to 7:30 a.m. [EDT], with contestants going off both the first and 10th tees in threesomes," according to a statement.
"In addition, the traditional Green Jacket Ceremony on the terrace putting green in back of the Clubhouse was canceled so the Club could get patrons safely off the grounds before the bad weather hits."
The line of thunderstorms that has been producing severe weather since the start of the weekend will threaten the Augusta area during the middle of the afternoon with another thunderstorm to follow in the evening.
"The greatest risks from the thunderstorms tracking toward Augusta are damaging winds, lightning and downpours reducing visibility and causing water to pond on the course," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.
Fans planning to attend Sunday's final round should stay alert to the weather forecast and prepare to seek shelter at the first sign of thunder or lightning. Fans are reminded to observe all scoreboards and message boards around the course for signs displaying weather warnings.
According to the Masters' website: "This sign will appear in advance of inclement weather as information becomes available. When the sign appears, you are advised to take precautions even before play is suspended. Suspension of play will be signaled by the sounding of an air horn or similar alert."
During Tuesday's practice round, the course was evacuated and play was suspended as storms with lightning moved through the area. Play was also suspended on Friday afternoon as showers and storms moved through the area.
In addition to monitoring for potential storms, spectators should stay properly hydrated. Sunday's high will be in the lower 80s F. A normal high for this time of year in Augusta is in the mid-70s.
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This year's event has been warmer than the 2018 Masters, which was one of the coolest. The only day near 80 F was the second round. During the final round, the high was 60 F, which was 16 F below the normal (76 F) for the time of the year.
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