AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Scottie Scheffler will launch his Masters title defence on Thursday in a group with Max Homa and amateur Sam Bennett while British Open winner Cameron Smith of LIV Golf will play the first two rounds alongside former champion Hideki Matsuyama.
World number one Scheffler, bidding to become the fourth player to repeat as Masters champion, will go out in the third-last group at 1:36 p.m. ET (1736 GMT) with forecasts predicting a 40% chance of afternoon thunderstorms.
Rory McIlroy, seeking a win to complete the career Grand Slam of golf's four majors, is due to go out in the day's penultimate group at 1:48 p.m ET with Sam Burns and South Korea's Tom Kim.
Five-times champion Tiger Woods, in only his second event this season given the limited schedule he is playing after his February 2021 car crash, is scheduled to tee off at 10:18 a.m. ET with fellow American Xander Schauffele and Norway's Viktor Hovland.
Australian Smith, one of 18 players from the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit in the field at Augusta National, will set off at 10:54 a.m. ET in the company of 2021 Masters winner Matsuyama on Japan and South Korea's Im Sung-jae.
No LIV Golf players were grouped together to begin the Masters and Kevin Na will be the first player from the circuit to get started as he goes out in the first group with 2003 winner Mike Weir of Canada at 8:00 a.m. ET.
Among other notable LIV Golf players at the year's first major, three-times Masters champion Phil Mickelson will play alongside fellow American Tom Hoge and South Korea's Kim Si-woo.
Dustin Johnson, who won the 2020 Masters before making the move to LIV Golf last year, will tee off with Canada's Corey Conners and England's Justin Rose.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue, editing by Ed Osmond)