Play on the first day of the 88th Masters could be disrupted by the weather as Rory McIlroy makes another attempt to complete the career grand slam in Augusta.

Thunderstorms, heavy rain and winds gusting up to 45mph are all in the forecast as golf’s first major of the year gets under way on Thursday afternoon.

McIlroy tees-off in a heavyweight group that also features world number one – and heavy tournament favourite – Scottie Scheffler at 3.42pm BST.

Rory McIlroy is looking to complete his set of majors
Rory McIlroy is looking to complete his set of majors (Charlie Riedel/AP)

England’s Tommy Fleetwood has been drawn in the final group in round one for the second successive year, but he will not let the uncertain weather affect his preparations.

“I generally wake up and take the weather for what it is, just go out and play with the conditions we get, but I’ve heard the forecast is pretty bad,” Fleetwood said.

“The conditions are going to play a part in how the golf course plays and what happens there, so we’ll see.”

Here, the PA news agency goes through what you need to know ahead of day one.

Is there anything new for 2024?

Justin Thomas, left, and Tiger Woods hit out of a bunker on the second hole in practice
Justin Thomas, left, and Tiger Woods hit out of a bunker on the second hole in practice (Matt Slocum/AP)

The par-five second has been lengthened by 10 yards via the addition of a new tee which has been pushed further to the left, slightly increasing the angle of the dogleg left.

Amendments have also been made to the fourth and sixth greens to allow for more pin positions on the upper right-hand side.

Who are the favourites?

Scottie Scheffler
Scottie Scheffler catches a golf ball on the driving range during a practice round in preparation for the 88th Masters (Charlie Riedel/AP)

The top three players in the world rankings occupying the same place in the betting may suggest a lack of imagination from the bookmakers, but it is hard to argue with their logic.

World number one Scheffler has finished first, first and second in his last three PGA Tour events, while McIlroy’s lesson from Butch Harmon resulted in third place in the Valero Texas Open on Sunday.

Jon Rahm’s form is harder to assess following his switch to LIV Golf, but the defending champion had four straight top 10s at Augusta from 2018-21.

Key tee times (all BST)

1530 – Jon Rahm, Matt Fitzpatrick, Nick Dunlap
1542 – Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
1824 – Tiger Woods, Jason Day, Max Homa
1836 – Brian Harman, Brooks Koepka, Tom Kim
1900 – Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Tommy Fleetwood

The 18 holes of Augusta
The 18 holes of Augusta (PA Graphics)

Weather forecast

A cold front is forecast to bring a band of rain and scattered thunderstorms through the region between 6am-1pm local time on Thursday.

Heavy rainfall and occasional wind gusts of 40-45 mph are anticipated over this period.

A lull in precipitation should occur behind the cold front between 1-4pm before scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms drift back into the region for the late afternoon and evening hours.