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Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

After a seven-month delay, the Masters is finally here — but like so much in 2020, it will be far different from the tournament we've come to expect each April.

The state of play: There's a certain feel about Augusta National; a certain rhythm to the Masters. Both will be affected by this week's spectator-less grounds, with some players missing the roar of the crowd — and others enjoying the silence.

Other big changes:

  • No azaleas: Augusta is designed to look beautiful in April, when its famous pink azaleas and white dogwoods are in full bloom. This year's fall foliage will provide a much different backdrop: less pink, more burnt orange.
  • Split tee start: With limited daylight in November, the Masters will use a two-tee start for Rounds 1 and 2. This means each golfer will begin at least one round on the 10th hole before immediately proceeding to Amen Corner.
  • Football season: The Masters will be up against college football and the NFL for the first time. On Saturday, ESPN's "College GameDay" will broadcast live from Augusta ahead of college football's depleted slate, while Sunday's final round will end at ~3pm ET so CBS can broadcast three NFL games at 4pm.

Who to watch:

  • The favorite: 27-year-old Bryson DeChambeau has been the PGA Tour's best player since the June restart, averaging nearly 13 more yards off the tee than any other player. He dominated the U.S. Open in September at Winged Foot by six strokes to become just the third player, after Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, to win the U.S. Amateur, the NCAA championship and the Open.
  • The icon: All eyes will be on Woods this week, despite the fact that he's unlikely to repeat last year's inspired victory.
  • Other favorites include Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy.

How to win:

  • Over the years, the Masters has developed a reputation for being a putting contest, perhaps because so many iconic moments have happened on the greens.
  • If you want to win, having a great long game (i.e. hitting bombs off the tee) is far more important than having the hottest putter.
  • The average Masters winner last decade ranked 12th in strokes gained from tee-to-green that season, and just 98th in putting.

How to watch:

  • TV: Coverage begins on ESPN today and tomorrow before moving over to CBS, which will broadcast the Masters for the 65th straight year — the longest-running sporting event broadcast on one network.
  • Streaming: Masters.com and the Masters app will stream the ESPN and CBS broadcasts, plus featured-group coverage starting at 7:45am ET daily.

The bottom line: Despite so many traditions being altered, one still remains: the green jacket. And ultimately, that's what makes the Masters, well, the Masters.

  • Some of the magic is lost without tens of thousands of patrons mulling about, no doubt. But between the lines, from golf shot to golf shot, this week is still certain to give even the most seasoned pros a tingle.
  • There will be no cheers. No ropes. No grandstands. But there will still be high-pressure golf — and there will still be Augusta.

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  2. Vaccine: Pfizer begins study on 3rd vaccine dose as booster shot against new strains — Republicans are least likely to want the coronavirus vaccine
  3. U.S. news: California surpasses 50,000 deaths COVID-19 deaths, more than any other state — Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter return to church after receiving COVID-19 vaccines
  4. Local: Public transit ridership in Twin Cities dropped 53% amid pandemic — Data firm predicts "complete chaos" in next phases of Florida's vaccine rolloutAlaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy tests positive for the coronavirus

Acting Capitol Police chief: Phone logs show Jan. 6 National Guard approval was delayed

Pittman at a congressional tribute for fallen officer Brian Sicknick. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Acting U.S. Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman testified on Thursday that cellphone records show former USCP chief Steven Sund requested National Guard support from the House sergeant-at-arms as early as 12:58pm on Jan. 6, but he did not receive approval until over an hour later.

Why it matters: Sund and former House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving clashed at a Senate hearing on Tuesday over a dispute in the timeline for when Capitol Police requested the National Guard during the Capitol insurrection.

Manhattan prosecutors reportedly obtain millions of pages of Trump's tax records

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Manhattan district attorney is now in possession of millions of pages of former President Trump's tax and financial records, CNN first reported, following a Supreme Court ruling that allowed prosecutors to enforce a subpoena after a lengthy legal battle.

Why it matters: Trump fought for years to keep his tax returns out of the public eye and away from prosecutors in New York, who are examining his business in a criminal investigation that was first sparked by hush-money payments made by Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen during the 2016 election.