The 76th staging of the famous Masters tournament takes place this week at Augusta, Georgia, where the world’s top golfers will battle to land the opening major championship of 2012.
Played amongst the pristine settings and immaculate surroundings of the mystical August National Golf Club, this historic tournament is one of the gems of the sporting calendar, with Sky Sports and the BBC sharing live coverage once again.
South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel will be aiming to defend the famous green jacket he won in dramatic style on an exhilarating final day’s play at last year’s tournament.
Current world number two and 2011 US Open champion Rory McIlroy will be attempting to lay the ghosts of his fourth-round meltdown to rest this time around.
The Northern Irishman had topped the leaderboard after each of the first three days in 2011, setting the pace with an opening seven-under-par 65, matched only by Spain’s Alvaro Quiros.
But despite holding a four-shot lead going into Masters Sunday, McIlroy’s challenge for the green jacket dramatically faded following a disastrous run during the middle of his final round, dropping six shots in three holes.
Despite his heart-breaking troubles at Augusta last year, McIlroy recovered to win the US Open at Congressional in supreme fashion and became world number one for the first time in March 2012.
Four-time Masters champion Tiger Woods will also be in the mix after his recent victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, ending a 30-month victory drought on the American PGA Tour in the process.
But with Englishmen Luke Donald and Lee Westwood currently in the world’s top three, there is a strong chance once again that there could be a British winner of the Masters for the first time since Nick Faldo’s triumph in 1996.
.Selected Pairings All times BST 3.00pm Thomas Bjorn (DEN, +7), Luke Donald (ENG, +7) 3.20pm Charl Schwartzel (RSA, +6), Martin Kaymer (GER, +6) 3.40pm Anders Hansen (DEN, +5), Ross Fisher (ENG, +5) 4.30pm Vijay Singh (FIJ, +2), Tiger Woods (USA, +3) 5.00pm Rory McIlroy (NIR, +1), Graeme McDowell (NIR, +2) 5.30pm Justin Rose (ENG, E), Charles Howell (USA, E) 5.40pm Sergio Garcia (ESP, -1), Webb Simpson (USA, E) 6.20pm Jason Dufner (USA, -2), Fred Couples (USA, -2) 6.50pm Francesco Molinari (ITA, -2), Ian Poulter (ENG, -2) 7.00pm Lee Westwood (ENG, -4), Paul Lawrie (SCO, -3) 7.10pm Padraig Harrington (IRE, -4), Henrik Stenson (SWE, -4) 7.20pm Matt Kuchar (USA, -5), Hunter Hahan (USA, -4) 7.30pm Louis Oosthuizen (RSA, -7), Bubba Watson (USA, -6) 7.40pm (Final pairing) Peter Hanson (SWE, -9), Phil Mickelson (USA, -8) CLICK HERE for full Round 4 pairings via Masters.com
As in 2011, Sky Sports is the only place to follow all four days of golf’s most prestigious tournament.
But free-to-air viewers will also be able to watch all the key moments on the BBC, including live coverage of the concluding two rounds, as well as extensive live radio commentary across all four days.
Here’s our guide to what is on offer for BBC and Sky viewers, including a full TV schedule (scroll down):
BBC Sport will provide extensive multi-platform coverage of the 2012 Masters, ensuring free-to-air golf fans will not miss out on all of the essential action across the four days.
Highlights of the opening round will be shown on Friday night at 7pm on BBC Two, with a round-up of the second day’s play on Saturday afternoon at 3.15pm on BBC One.
Live coverage of the final two rounds will be shown on BBC Two on Saturday and Sunday evenings.
Hazel Irvine will present all of the BBC’s television output, which will also be available in high-definition on the BBC HD channel and to watch online via the BBC Sport website.
Commentary and analysis comes from the BBC’s ‘voice of golf’ Peter Alliss, Ken Brown, Andrew Cotter and 1990 US PGA champion Wayne Grady.
Reports and interviews will come from former England cricket captain and keen golfer Michael Vaughan, who joins the BBC TV team for the first time this year.
BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra will have live coverage of the closing stages of all four rounds, hosted once again by Radio 2 and One Show presenter Chris Evans.
Commentary will be lead by golf correspondent Iain Carter, John Murray and Alistair Bruce-Ball with analysis from 5 live’s regular US expert Jay Townsend and PGA Tour winner and seven times Masters player Andrew Magee.
Sky Sports returns to the Augusta National after a successful debut last year, where the channel’s coverage competed head-to-head with the BBC for the first time at a major golf championship.
They will show all four days of the Masters showpiece live and in high definition, with extensive build-up and comprehensive analysis of each day’s play.
Viewers with a 3D-ready TV will also be able to sample the Masters from a different perspective on the Sky 3D channel, with selected coverage across all four days.
David Livingstone presents Sky’s daily live coverage from Augusta. The commentary team will once again be led by the experienced duo of Ewen Murray and Bruce Critchley, with further comment from Butch Harmon, Colin Montgomerie and Mark Roe.
In a big coup for Sky’s coverage, six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus (above) will be part of the Sky Sports team on the Thursday, where the 18-time major champion will provide a unique insight on the opening day’s play.
On-course reports and interviews throughout the tournament will come from Howard Clark, Sarah Stirk and Tim Barter.
New to Sky Sports’ coverage in 2012 is Masters Breakfast. Rob Lee will present the best of the previous day’s play from Augusta on Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning’s, with extended highlights, interviews and analysis from the Sky Sports experts.
Also, Sky viewers will be able to watch the top players practice on the driving range for the first time, with live coverage from the range available on Monday through to Wednesday via the red button on Sky Sports 1.
Sky will also provide full coverage of the traditional Par 3 Tournament on Wednesday evening, presented by Kirsty Gallagher and Mark Roe.
During the four days of live coverage, Sky TV customers can also enjoy four extra channels behind the red button.
Up to eight hours of extra live action will be shown from the first three rounds before the main Sky Sports programme begins, with two channels following featured groups, a channel covering holes 15 and 16 and a final channel from Amen corner (Thursday and Friday only).
Monday 2nd April On the Range LIVE – 2pm – Sky Sports 1 (Red Button) The Masters Official Film: Ballesteros – 6pm – Sky Sports 1 Masters Special: Golf’s First Major – 6.30pm – Sky Sports 1 Special Report: Mastering Augusta – 7.30pm – Sky Sports News Tuesday 3rd April On the Range LIVE – 2pm – Sky Sports 1 (Red Button) The Masters Official Film: Langer 1985 – 7pm – Sky Sports 1 The Masters Official Film: Woods 1997 – 7.30pm – Sky Sports 1 The Masters Preview – 8.30pm – Sky Sports 1 Wednesday 4th April On the Range LIVE – 2pm – Sky Sports 1 (Red Button) The Masters Official Film: Olazabal 1999 – 5.30pm – Sky Sports 1 The Masters Official Film 2011 – 6.30pm – Sky Sports 1 The Masters – Par 3 Tournament LIVE – 7.30pm – Sky Sports 1 Masters 2011 Review – 11.20pm – BBC Two Thursday 5th April Day 1 LIVE (Selected holes) – 3.45pm – Sky Sports 1 (Red Button) Day 1 LIVE – 7pm – Sky Sports 1 | 9.30pm – Sky 3D Friday 6th April Masters Breakfast – 9am – Sky Sports 2 Day 2 LIVE (Selected holes) – 3.45pm – Sky Sports 1 (Red Button) Masters Highlights (Day 1) – 7pm – BBC Two Day 2 LIVE – 7pm – Sky Sports 1 | 9.30pm – Sky 3D Saturday 7th April Masters Breakfast – 9am – Sky Sports 3 Masters Highlights (Day 2) – 3.15pm – BBC One Day 3 LIVE (Selected holes) – 5pm – SS1 (Red) & BBC Red Button Day 3 LIVE – 8pm – Sky Sports 1 | 8.30pm – BBC Two | 9pm – Sky 3D Sunday 8th April Masters Breakfast – 9am – Sky Sports 2 Day 4 LIVE (Selected holes) – 5pm – SS1 (Red) & BBC Red Button Day 4 LIVE – 6.30pm – Sky Sports 1 | 7pm – BBC Two | 9pm – Sky 3D Monday 9th April How The Masters Was Won – 8pm – Sky Sports 2