Danny Willett Shines in Delayed Start of 88th Masters Tournament

Former champion Danny Willett stands out in the 88th Masters tournament’s delayed kick-off with a remarkable performance, taking the lead early on. Get insights on the event’s start, notable players, and anticipated matchups.

Former champion Danny Willett enjoyed a superb start as the 88th Masters tournament got underway on Thursday, despite the event’s delayed start. Making his first appearance since undergoing shoulder surgery in September, Willett recorded the first birdie of the week on the opening hole and added another from close range on the third. This took the 36-year-old from Sheffield to the top of the early leaderboard at two under par, a shot ahead of a group that included Bryson DeChambeau and Erik van Rooyen.

The tournament’s opening tee shot, originally scheduled for 8 AM local time (1:00 PM BST), was delayed by at least an hour due to rain. Tournament officials eventually announced a 10:30 AM local time (3:30 PM BST) start, with Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Tom Watson kicking off the proceedings by hitting their ceremonial tee shots on the first hole.

The delayed start meant that the first round would not be completed on schedule, with the final group of Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, and Tommy Fleetwood not teeing off until 4:30 PM local time. Fleetwood, who had been drawn in the final group for the second consecutive year, had taken on weather monitoring duties in the absence of his regular caddie, Ian Finnis, who is recovering from illness back in England.

Pre-tournament favorite Scottie Scheffler, who will partner Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele in the first two rounds, is now scheduled to tee off at 1:12 PM local time (6:12 PM BST). Defending champion Jon Rahm, meanwhile, will begin his attempt to become the fourth player to win back-to-back Masters titles, alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Nick Dunlap, in the preceding group.

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