The Masters weather forecast as storms disrupt opening round at Augusta

The start of the 2024 Masters tournament has been disrupted by storms and adverse weather ahead of the opening tee-off time at Augusta National on Thursday.

Heavy overnight and early morning rain soaked the course after three dry practice days with conditions worsening from 6am local time or 11am in the UK.

The Masters was scheduled to start at 8am in Georgia (1pm BST), though the organisers issued an update about the delays on Thursday morning. It read: “We continue to monitor the weather closely. Gate openings and tee times have been delayed until further notice. The first round will not begin before 9am.”

A later update confirmed the start time would be 10.30am local time (3.30pm BST). “The first round will begin at 10:30 a.m. off the No. 1 tee. The Honorary Starters Ceremony will begin at 10:10 a.m. Patron gates will open at 9:30 a.m. “

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

On Wednesday, tournament organisers had released a statement which read: “Due to forecasted weather on Thursday, we have decided to delay all gate openings in the morning. All Masters free parking will be closed until further notice while gate openings are delayed. Further updates will be shared no later than 5am via and social channels.”

Weather delays have forced suspensions in play in each of the last five editions of The Masters. The latest forecast for Thursday’s opening round shows a 90 per cent chance of showers and thunderstorms in the morning with wind gusts up to 45mph and a chance that the storms return later in the day.

The weather update issued by tournament officials yesterday said: “A secondary stronger band of heavy rain and thunderstorms along a cold front is forecast from 6am-11am (11am-4pm BST) Thursday.

“Occasional wind gusts of 40-45 mph are anticipated from 7am-11am (12pm-4pm BST). A lull in precipitation should occur behind the cold front through 3pm (8pm BST) before scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms drift back into the region for the late afternoon and evening hours.

“Rainfall of 1.50-2.50 inches is forecast through Thursday evening. Windy conditions persist Friday under mostly sunny skies as a dry and stable airmass settles into the area.

“Mostly sunny skies can be expected through the weekend with west to south-westerly winds in the 7-15mph range.”

The weekend forecast looks a lot better with warm and sunny conditions expected and winds dying down significantly allowing time for the tournament to get back on track should any suspensions in play occur.

Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson are set to hit the honorary opening tee shots before South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen and the USA’s Jake Knapp head out as the first pairing.

Rain severely disrupted last year’s tournament, with play stopped on Friday after three pine trees fell close to the 17th tee.