AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The 2019 Masters is doing what it can to avoid its first Monday finish since Seve Ballesteros slipped on a green jacket in 1983. In order to meet this goal, Augusta National announced that Round 4 will begin at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday with golfers being sent off both the No. 1 and No. 10 tees. Play is expected to wrap up around 1:30-2 p.m., just before thunderstorms threaten to invade the pristine course.
CBS will broadcast the final round live at 9 a.m. withbeginning with the start of the round at 7:30 a.m. The leaders -- Francesco Molinari, Tiger Woods and Tony Finau -- will tee off at 9:20 a.m. [ ] as everything is bumped up about six hours to avoid late afternoon thunderstorms that could otherwise move the finish until Monday.
At the conclusion of live coverage, CBS will air an encore presentation of the final round.
"The safety of everyone on our grounds is paramount," said Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament. "We also believe the earlier start will give us the best opportunity to complete the Masters on Sunday. This decision should benefit everyone - the players, our patrons and our fans watching around the world. Given the competitiveness and drama of this year's Tournament, we look forward to an exciting conclusion tomorrow."
The problem here is the timing of the thunderstorms. If they happened Saturday morning, there would have been sufficient time to make up ground the rest of the weekend. But if they appear to becoming Sunday evening, you run the risk of darkness overtaking the course, which means a Monday finish.
As it stands right now, there is a better than 50-50 chance of thunderstorms beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, which is why they will try to wrap up play before that weather rolls in.
There are obviously a number of moving parts here that could still result in a Monday finish, but the primary point remains that Augusta National chose to make a bold move in order to get the Masters completed on Sunday.