AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Play in the 2012 Masters will start Thursday morning when Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player tee it off as the honorary starters. Each will drive the ball from the first tee and then retire to the clubhouse. Those three legends have won 13 Masters green jackets.
Billy Payne, the chairman of Augusta National, says he expects the course to be ready for Thursday's first round, despite a "significant" storm that downed "several" trees and left several bunkers "completely washed out." Payne says 1.4 inches of rain fell on the course during Tuesday night's storm, and conditions today remained "extremely wet." He says work will go on around the clock and that he expects the course to be "restored to competitive conditions" by the end of the day. More rain fell this afternoon and forced a suspension of the Par-3 contest.
There's a 60 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms in the forecast for Thursday.
Payne also deflected questions about the addition of a woman to the club's membership, calling it "private deliberations."