The start of the Masters was delayed because of bad weather.

AUGUSTA, GA. – For all of the great and intriguing players in the 2024 Masters field, there is one grouping in particular that I'll be watching on Thursday.

At 12:12 p.m.. Central time, Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele will tee off on the first hole at Augusta National. Somehow, those three exceptional players have combined for only one green jacket - earned by Scheffler in 2022.

Scheffler has been ranked No. 1 in the world since March of 2022, right before he won The Masters. Despite his dominance, he has won only that one major. He would seem to be in line to win a handful, but he would not be the first great player to fail to perform his best in majors.

Scheffler and his best friend, Sam Burns, have promised to leave The Masters if their pregnant wives show signs of nearing delivery.

McIlroy is trying for the 10th time to win the Masters and become the sixth player to complete the career grand slam, meaning he will have won all four modern major championships.

``He'll get it done," Tiger Woods said.

McIlroy's performances hint that he won't. He tends to play his best at The Masters when out of contention. Six times in the last nine years he has finished in the top 10 here, but he has played his worst when in contention going into Sunday, and has played his best when he was too far out of contention for a great round to move him into contention.

Last year he missed the cut. In 2022, he finished second with a final-round 64, but never had a chance to catch Scheffler. He missed the cut in 2021, and in 2020. His last five first-round scores here: 73, 75, 76, 73, 72.

Masters leaderboard

Schauffele would love to be in the position that Scheffler and McIlroy are, trying to add to their major collection. He's ranked fifth in the world, the highest rank of any player without a major title.

He has finished in the top 10 at The Masters three times, with one runner-up finish.

"Yeah, I mean, I try to force the dream upon myself all the time," Schauffele said. "They talk about how right before you fall asleep whatever you're thinking of you're going to dream about it. So as many dreams, you know, as I can have wearing a Green Jacket or someone putting it on me on the 18th green, that's what I try and envision. So, my dad still hasn't played this property. He told me a long time ago I'm only going to play when you're a member. So that's definitely a goal of mine."

Other Masters tidbits:

• Masters chairman Fred Ridley held his annual press conference on Wednesday, and said that the Masters will support the USGA and R&A's golf ball rollback.

Ridley said that Augusta National ``has more room'' to move tees back to mitigate the increasing power of modern players, but added that the room on the course is limited.

• Former Masters champion Vijay Singh has said he would like to see the 12th hole, the famous par-3, be lengthened. Ridley said that will not happen while he is in charge.

• The tee box on the par-5 2nd hole has been moved back 10 yards.

• Ridley defended the tournament's decision to move the 13th tee box back last year, saying that stats indicated that more players were hitting their drivers into the fairway instead of into the trees, and were merely faced with longer shots to the green, which he said brought back excitement to the hole. In previous years, many players were using short and mid-irons to reach the green in two.

• Ridley admitted that while he was never a fervent fan of women's college basketball, the rise of Iowa basketball star Caitlin Clark caused him to watch her last four games.