Woods will take to stage in penultimate pairing

Tiger Woods faces a lengthy wait before he can begin his attempt to win a fifth Masters title when the year’s first major championship gets under way tomorrow.

Tiger Woods greets his children Charlie, left, and Sam during a practice round at Augusta yesterday (Picture: Chris Carlson/AP).
Tiger Woods greets his children Charlie, left, and Sam during a practice round at Augusta yesterday (Picture: Chris Carlson/AP).

Rory McIlroy, however, will enjoy an earlier start at Augusta National this week as he attempts to become the sixth player to complete the career grand slam.

Woods has been drawn in the penultimate group for the opening round alongside fellow American Jimmy Walker and Welshman Jamie Donaldson, teeing off at 1.48pm local time (6.48 BST).

The 14-time major winner has started just two events in 2015, carding a career-worst 82 to miss the cut in the first and withdrawing through injury after 11 holes of the second, but said he was ready to “compete to win a golf tournament” after 11 holes of practice on Monday.

World No 1 McIlroy has been drawn alongside three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson and American Ryan Moore at 10.41am (3.41pm BST), with US Open champion Martin Kaymer in the group behind with Brandt Snedeker and Houston Open winner JB Holmes.

McIlroy and Mickelson were among the players battling for the US PGA title in near-darkness at Valhalla last year, with Mickelson and Rickie Fowler stepping aside on the 18th to allow the final group of McIlroy and Bernd Wiesberger to tee off and beat the fading light.

With 98 players in the field, Charley Hoffman and Brian Harman make up the first group out in the tournament proper at 7.45am (12.45pm BST), with Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer again acting as honorary starters five minutes earlier, the legendary trio hitting tee shots on the par-four first before retiring to the clubhouse.

Sheffield’s Danny Willett will begin his Masters debut in the second group at 7.56am (12.56pm BST) alongside 1987 winner Larry Mize and US amateur public links champion Byron Meth.

The final group tees off at 1.59pm (7.59pm BST) and features three players ranked in the top 13 in the world, Australia’s Jason Day, Spain’s Sergio Garcia and Fowler.

Fowler finished in the top five in all four majors last year.

Former world No 1 Woods confirmed yesterday that his two children would caddie for him during the traditional par-three contest he has not played since 2004.

Woods made a hole-in-one in the par-three contest on that occasion, but he opted not to compete in a play-off for the title.

His reluctance to take part in the sudden-death climax was because no player has ever won the par-three event and tournament proper at Augusta in the same year.