sport

Masters Monday cancelled

Monday practice at The Masters was cancelled for the first time in 11 years due to a thunderstorm at Augusta National.

Organisers were forced to call players and thousands of disappointed patrons off the course due to the conditions.

The bad weather arrived earlier than previously forecast and led to an announcement at 10am asking spectators to leave the grounds and seek shelter.

Tournament officials then announced at lunchtime that the gates would remain closed for the rest of the day, the first time that had happened since the same day in 2003.

Spectators will receive refunds in May and be guaranteed the opportunity to purchase tickets for practice rounds in 2015.

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said: "We are disappointed that our patrons could not enjoy today's practice round, however safety must be our first concern. We look forward to seeing these patrons next year."

Around 30 players had been out on the course, including Northern Ireland duo Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, German pair Bernhard Langer and Martin Kaymer and world No 4 Jason Day, who was playing alongside British amateur champion Garrick Porteous.

McIlroy out early

Pre-tournament favourite Rory McIlroy had spent around 90 minutes on the practice range, chatting to putting guru Dave Stockton, before leaving the course.

One player unconcerned about the weather was England's Lee Westwood, whose recent approach of not arriving at Augusta until Tuesday paid off handsomely.

In response to a question about the weather on Twitter, Westwood wrote: "No idea about Augusta but it's lovely in Florida."

A weather forecast issued at 8.30am local time said that the expected rain had started to "surge eastward towards Augusta National... as a result the starting times of the rain and thunderstorms have been shifted earlier a few hours.

"Rain and embedded thunderstorms will occur from late this morning through the early afternoon hours, before a break develops by the late afternoon.

"This should limit most of the stronger thunderstorm activity, but heavy rain, blustery conditions and occasional lightning can be expected as this moves through."

Keep up to date with all the action from all four days of the Masters starting at 7.00pm this Thursday on Sky Sports 4