Augusta, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Defending champion Adam Scott will have PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner in his group when the 78th Masters opens Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club, while 2012 Masters winner Bubba Watson will play alongside Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia.
Scott will be the highest-ranked player in field at No. 2 in the world as four-time Masters champion Tiger Woods is not playing while he recovers from back surgery. Scott, Dufner and amateur Matthew Fitzpatrick (a) will tee off at 10:41 a.m. on Thursday and 1:48 p.m. on Friday.
Scott birdied the second playoff hole last year to defeat Angel Cabrera and earn his first major victory. Also with the win, Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters in what was the first all international playoff in tournament history.
The Aussie followed his Masters title with another win at The Barclays last season and has four top-10 finishes during the current campaign, including a victory at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
Watson, who earned his first green jacket in 2012, Donald and Garcia will tee off at 1:15 p.m. Thursday and 9:57 am. Friday. Watson picked up his first win since the Masters at the Northern Trust Open in February and also has a pair of runner-up finishes in 2014.
Garcia won the European Tour's Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in January and is coming off a third-place finish at last week's Shell Houston Open. He has three career top-10 finishes at Augusta. Donald has two top-10 finishes in his last four starts and has ended inside the top five twice in nine career Masters starts.
Other notable groupings for the first two rounds include: Cabrera, Gary Woodland and Ian Poulter (9:13 a.m. Thursday/12:31 p.m. Friday); Fred Couples, Webb Simpson and amateur Chang-woo Lee (9:24 a.m. Thursday/12:42 p.m. Friday); Graeme McDowell, Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker (9:35 a.m. Thursday/12:53 p.m. Friday); former World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed (10:52 a.m. Thursday/1:59 p.m. Friday); Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson (1:04 p.m. Thursday/9:35 a.m. Friday); and three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Justin Rose (1:48 p.m. Thursday/10:30 a.m. Friday).
The tournament's first group is scheduled to tee off at 7:45 a.m. on Thursday and consists of Stewart Cink and Tim Clark. The iconic trio of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus will hit their honorary tee shots at 7:40 a.m. Thursday.