Azaleas in Bloom


By: Jeff Yoder

Good Masters Morning!

Golfers, rejoice. The 88th edition of The Masters tees off this morning. Marissa Kasch has the course info, weather forecast, players to watch, and everything you need to know in today’s Masters 101. The shift to Augusta means it’s officially spring.

Plus, a much-anticipated MLB debut, Stanley Cup Playoff races, and a Champions League goal-scoring frenzy help pull us out of the March Madness fog.

Letter Rip!



The Masters Primer

Photo: Jamie Squire / Getty Images

Course Info, Weather, Players to Watch & Storylines for the Greatest Week in Golf (By Marissa Kasch)

If you’ve come down with a case of the post-March Madness blues, you’re not alone. Luckily, golf has us covered for the next four days. The first major tees off this morning from Augusta National, and there’s an aura of spring starting to sprout. The azaleas are in bloom. Magnolia Lane is open. It’s Masters weekend, and Augusta looks as pristine as ever. Golf diehards know the stories behind these iconic grounds, but every year writes a new chapter. Ready? 

The Masters 101: Augusta is admired in the world of golf for its beauty and attention to detail. Though each hole may be named after a beautiful plant on the course — Pink Dogwood, Magnolia, Flowering Crab Apple, etc. — this course is anything but a walk in the park. Golfers don’t get to calm their nerves with an easy start at Augusta, and low numbers get progressively harder as the round goes on.

The Front 9: For most of the front nine, there are opportunities to go low, but course designers have added length to most of the holes in recent years. That means approach shots are more challenging. The trouble starts to come on Hole No. 9 (Carolina Cherry) with a ruthless two-tiered green. If you land your approach shot short, it’s rolling down a big hill. Hit a putt too hard, you’ll face the same fate.

Amen Corner: After the turn, players head to the most iconic three holes in all of golf: Amen Corner. On Hole No. 11 (White Dogwood), there’s a narrow fairway and a green that slopes toward a pond. Then, golfers head to (arguably) the most famous Par 3 in the world (Golden Bell). Despite its beauty, the landing area is tricky, with steep embankments, water, and bunkers surrounding the green. Golfers round out Amen Corner with a Par 5 (Azalea) featuring another two-tiered green and, once again, tricky tee shots and approach shots. Getting through 11, 12, and 13 at even-par is sheer survival.

The Back Stretch: Things don’t get easier late in the back-nine. The Par 5 15th (Firethorn) awaits with a green fronted by Rae’s Creek. The Par 3 16th (Redbud) is the best birdie opportunity before Par 4s at 17 and 18 bring golfers home to the clubhouse.

The Forecast: It’s not promising on Day 1. Storms are in the forecast for Thursday morning, and the winner of Round 1 could be the weather. Expect clouds to break later in the day before clear skies into (most) of the weekend.

Players to Watch: The clear favorite to don the green jacket this year is Scottie Scheffler, the No. 1 player in the world. He’s coming off a second PLAYERS Championship, a victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a tie for second place at the Houston Open, and a tie for third at the Phoenix Open. Defending champion Jon Rahm is another player who should never be overlooked. He has finished in the top nine in five of his last six starts at Augusta. Xander Schauffele has also played great golf this season with four top-10 finishes in his last five starts. Other favorites this weekend include Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama, and Jordan Spieth. Keep an eye on Tiger Woods as he hunts The Masters record for consecutive cuts made (24).

Odds: S. Scheffler (+475), R. McIlroy (+1100), J. Rahm (+1200), B. Koepka (+1400), X. Schauffele (+1600), H. Matsuyama (+1800), J. Spieth (+2200) | Full Odds 

Par-3 Contest Highlights (Wednesday)

Round 1 Tee Times (Featured Groups)

10:18 AM: H. Matsuyama, W. Zalatoris, J. Thomas

10:30 AM: J. Rahm, M. Fitzpatrick, N. Dunlap

10:42 AM: S. Scheffler, R. McIlroy, X. Schauffele

10:54 AM: W. Clark, V. Hovland, C. Smith

1:24 PM: T. Woods, J. Day, M. Homa

1:36 PM: B. Harman, B. Koepka, T. Kim

1:48 PM: J. Spieth, L. Aberg, S. Theegala

2:00 PM: D. Johnson, C. Morikawa, T. Fleetwood

*All times ET

Ready. Set. Masters! 

Read More

ESPN: Breaking Down All 89 Masters Participants: Favorites, Contenders & Hopefuls

Golfweek: Masters Picks, Predictions, Best Bets & Bonuses for Augusta in 2024

USA Today: Jon Rahm’s Menu at the Annual Masters Champions Dinner

CBS Sports: Tiger Woods Says ‘I Hurt Every Day’ as 15-Time Major Champion Prepares for Return



The Next Big Big-Leaguer

Photo: Daniel Shirey / Getty Images

Orioles Beat Red Sox (7-5) in Jackson Holliday’s Super-Hyped Debut

The first big league performance for Orioles’ 2B Jackson Holliday may have been a little underwhelming last night — 0-for-4, 1 RBI, and a few defensive plays — but he’s officially part of The Show. The No. 1 prospect slashed .333 and hit two home runs in a short Triple-A stint before getting called up last night. And if you don’t know Holliday, get familiar. He’s the most-hyped prospect in baseball since Shohei Ohtani (2018). The Oklahoma prospect was the O’s No. 1 pick in 2022 before last year’s successful turnaround. He’s also the son of Matt Holliday, a seven-time All-Star and the 2007 NL batting champ.

Last night, Baltimore needed a comeback to beat Boston (7-5) thanks to Jordan Westburg’s go-ahead three-run shot in the 7th inning. Holiday knocked in a run on a ground-out, and he helped turn a double play. You could still see shades of greatness, and he’s just getting started.

Watch: O’s Beat Red Sox (7-5) Via Comeback in Much-Hyped Jackson Holliday Debut

Read More

ESPN: Orioles’ Jackson Holliday, Sporting Dad’s No. 7 Jersey, Hitless in Debut

SI: Orioles Found Awesome Way to Tell Jackson Holliday He Was Being Called Up to Majors



The Stanley Cup Playoff Push

Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Rangers Surging Towards 1st Presidents’ Trophy in 10 Years With 3 Games to Play

We’re entering the final weekend of regular-season hockey, and it’s a toss-up for the Presidents’ Trophy (best regular-season record). The award has typically been decided earlier than now in recent seasons, but the Rangers are in prime position for their first since 2014. Every team has roughly three games left, and 12 of the 16 playoff spots are already secure (two left in each division). The East has five teams vying for the last two bids while the West is down to just three squads on life support. Let’s take a look before hockey enters crunch time.

Stanley Cup Playoff Races

Eastern Conference

1. Rangers (110 pts)

2. Hurricanes (107 pts)

3. Bruins (107 pts)

4. Panthers (104 pts)

5. Maple Leafs (101 pts)

6. TBD (Metro)

WC: Lightning (95 pts)


In the Hunt: Islanders (87 pts), Capitals (85 pts), Penguins (84 pts), Red Wings (84 pts), Flyers (83 pts)

Western Conference

1. Stars (109 pts)

2. Canucks (105 pts)

3. Avalanche (104 pts)

4. Jets (102 pts)

5. Oilers (101 pts)

6. TBD (Pacific)

WC: Predators (95 pts)


In the Hunt: Kings (93 pts), Golden Knights (92 pts), Blues (89 pts)

Read More

Hockey News: Each Team’s MVP in a Hart Race for the Ages

CBS Sports: NHL Power Rankings: Rangers Make Presidents’ Trophy Push



A Quarterfinal of Legend

Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

Champions League Quarterfinals (Leg 1) Produce 18 Goals in 4 Epic Matches

Europe’s top-class clubs have been back at it this week with Leg 1 of the quarterfinals in the UEFA Champions League, and the QF round is delivering something special. On Tuesday, matches between Arsenal-Bayern (2-2) and Real Madrid-Manchester City (3-3) produced 10 goals and a pair of hard-fought draws. On Wednesday, the PSG-Barcelona rivalry was everything fans could’ve asked for — back and forth with dream-like competition and five more goals in a narrow win for Barca (3-2). Atletico Madrid took over in their quarterfinal with Dortmund (2-1). Four matches. Eighteen goals. A quarterfinal of legend.

Europe’s Elite Show: There are no underdog stories in this year’s Champions League final eight like there have been in recent years. Dortmund may need a top-tier showing to survive in Leg 2, but the stage is set for four matches — all nearly level — after a quarterfinal for the ages. We wish we had time and space (soccer pun) to recap the epic play-by-play from every match, but the highlights should do. This was some Class-A futbol.

Champions League Quarterfinals (Leg 1s)

Barcelona def. PSG (3-2)

Atletico Madrid def. Dortmund (2-1)

Real Madrid Draw Manchester City (3-3)

Arsenal Draw Bayern Munich (2-2)

Leg 2s: Next Tuesday-Wednesday (Apr. 16-17)

Read More

Yahoo! Sports: Wild Champions League QF Night Ends With Controversial Call at Arsenal

AP News: Raphinha Scores Twice as Barcelona Beats PSG (3-2) in 1st Leg of UCL Quarters




Mavericks def. Heat (111-92)

Luka Doncic (29-9-9) Leads Dallas to 5th Straight

Nuggets def. Timberwolves (116-107)

Nikola Jokic (41-11-7) Puts Denver 1st in West

Suns def. Clippers (124-108)

Devin Booker (37 pts) & Bones Hyland (37 pts) Shine

Full NBA Scoreboard


Mariners def. Blue Jays (6-1, 10 innings)

Seattle Explodes for 5-Run 10th

Guardians def. White Sox (7-6)

Brothers Bo & Josh Naylor Both Hit HRs in Same Frame

Royals def. Astros (11-2)

Vinnie Pasquantino (HR, 5 RBIs), KC Win 6th Straight

Full MLB Scoreboard


Blues def. Blackhawks (5-2)

St. Louis Scores on First 4 Shots of the Game

Oilers def. Golden Knights (5-1)

Zach Hyman & Leon Draisaitl (1G, 1A) Each

Coyotes def. Canucks (4-3, OT)

Logan Cooley Nets OT Winner



Jaguars & Pass-Rusher Josh Allen Agree to 5-Year, $150 Million Deal (ESPN)

Track & Field Becomes 1st Olympic Sport With Prize Money: $50K for Gold (B/R)

Former NFL Star Terrell Suggs Arrested After Alleged Starbucks Drive-Thru Incident (USA Today)

NHL Preparing for Possibility Coyotes Play in Salt Lake City Next Season, per Report (SI)

Celtics Give Jrue Holiday 5-Year, $135 Million Extension on Brink of Playoff Run (B/R)

John Calipari Introduced at Arkansas, Gives Honest Take About Roster (SI)

Dallas Police Issue Arrest Warrant for Chiefs’ Rashee Rice in Relation to High-Speed Crash (ESPN)

Iowa Officially Retires Caitlin Clark’s No. 22 Jersey: ‘There Will Never Be Another 22’ (The Athletic)



Tonight’s Must-Watch List

The Masters

Featured Groups (All Day, ESPN+, Par+, Masters App)

Round 1 TV Coverage (3:00 pm—7:00 pm ET, ESPN)


Knicks at Celtics (7:30 pm ET, TNT)

Pelicans at Kings (10:00 pm ET, TNT)


Capitals at Sabres (7:00 pm ET, ESPN+)

Red Wings at Penguins (7:00 pm ET. ESPN+)


Mets at Braves (12:20 pm ET, MLBTV)

Orioles at Red Sox (7:10 pm ET, NESN)