For the second time in as many years, the Masters Tournament will conclude earlier than normal.
The schedule change, according to an exchange in CBS’ annual NFL conference call with reporters on Tuesday, is to accommodate the network’s slate of football broadcasts. It wasn’t an official announcement, but CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus was responding to a question about the potential scheduling conflicts.
“We obviously worked really closely with the NFL, the management of Augusta National, including chairman Fred Ridley, and the folks at the SEC for Saturday,” McManus said in the call.
The third round is set to end around 5:30 p.m., in time for Alabama at LSU on Nov. 14. On Sunday, the final round is scheduled to end by 2:45 p.m., before the scheduled NFL broadcast. There’s about an hour window there, in the event of a playoff.
McManus sees it as a win-win for everyone involved.
“I think the NFL will be helped by the lead-in the Masters will give it in our 4:05 window, which is good for the NFL, and I think our Alabama-LSU game that Saturday will benefit greatly by having a Masters lead-in,” he said. “I think the Masters will do really well being on this high-profile weekend, having NFL coverage follow it and having Alabama-LSU follow it.”
If the 2019 final round is any kind of model, the shift can work. With afternoon weather concerns looming entering Sunday last year, tournament officials made the unprecedented move to use split tees. 2019 champ Tiger Woods teed off at 9:20 a.m. with the final group and made his last putt on No. 18 just after 2 p.m.