TV commentators ‘could hardly speak’ as 29-year-old becomes first Japanese man to win a major
Hideki Matsuyama has recorded one of Japan’s greatest international sporting successes after winning the US Masters golf , months before Tokyo is scheduled to host the summer Olympics.
His compatriots were preparing for work, perhaps pausing to catch glimpses of the last few holes on TV, when the 29-year-old secured a one-shot victory over the American Will Zalatoris at Augusta National in Georgia.Continue reading...
- Hideki Matsuyama wins his maiden major
- Debutant Will Zalatoris finishes runner-up as Xander Schauffele crumbles at 16
- Official Masters leaderboard
Ewan Murray’s verdict is in. Click below for your edification ... but before you leave, here’s a reminder of how it all finished. Hope to see you back here for the PGA next month. Nighty night!
-7: Spieth, Schauffele
-6: Rahm, Leishman
-4: Reed, Conners
-3: Smith, Finau
-2: Simpson, Cink, Na, Kim, MacIntyre, Harmon
-1: Hatton, Morikawa, Scheffler
E: English, Lowry, Mickelson, Thomas, Hovland
The 2020 champion Dustin Johnson drapes the jacket over Matsuyama’s shoulders. “Congratulations!” “Thank you!” And with that, the 147-day reign of DJ - the shortest in Masters history, and the sort of quirk that could only happen to the big man - is over. Matsuyama smiles bashfully before fistbumping with Fred Ridley. On the one hand, the Butler Cabin is dreadfully awkward television ... and yet it’s always very difficult not to watch proceedings with a huge daft smile. These are moments to cherish, and it’s lovely to get a peek behind the curtain. Congratulations to Hideki!
Over we go to the Butler Cabin! CBS presenter Jim Nantz and Augusta big (pimento) cheese Fred Ridley exchange pleasantries, then it’s time for a chat with the new champion. “I’m very happy,” says Hideki Matsuyama. “My nerves really didn’t start on the second nine. It was right from the very start until the last putt! I’m glad I played well for [my friends and family]. Hopefully I’ll be a pioneer and many more Japanese players will follow.” And what was the moment when he knew he was going to win? “When I hit the fairway at 18!”
Matsuyama’s long-awaited arrival at the top table isn’t the only feelgood story this week. Will Zalatoris, coming off the back of a tie for sixth at the US Open, has announced himself as a serious talent with his second-place finish here. Jordan Spieth is back, baby. Jon Rahm will be thrilled with his final day 66, more evidence that a major is surely just a matter of time, plus he’ll get to cradle li’l Kepa when he gets home too. And then there’s Bob MacIntyre, who will be back here next year after his brilliant debut, Scotland having finally found someone who could one day walk in Sandy Lyle’s footsteps. Oh, and the patrons were back, bringing their electric crackle with them. All in all, not a bad four days, huh?
That triple on 16 will haunt Schauffele for a while. But when the pain subsides, he’ll reflect on an eighth top-ten finish in only 15 starts. Just as it eventually happened for Matsuyama, it’ll surely one day happen for the 27-year-old from San Diego.
Matsuyama takes off his cap and embraces Schauffele. They exchange friendly words. He smiles, but more in relief that anything else. The gallery go wild in honour of the new champ, whose 30-stroke back nine yesterday made the difference. It was real seize-the-day stuff, and while he threatened to wobble occasionally today, he ultimately stayed firm under absurd pressure. A brilliant performance for a player who has waited patiently to make his major breakthrough!
Two putts for bogey, but it doesn’t matter. Hideki Matsuyama, so long a major-championship nearly man, deservedly wins the green jacket! He had to go through the ringer, mind!
Two putts for Schauffele. Par, a 72, some heartfelt applause. But he came agonisingly short this time. He ends the week at -7 in a tie for third.
A sigh of relief as he finds his ball resting on a flat lie in the sand. He splashes out to six feet, and he can begin to breathe out again. A huge smile now. Probably 70 percent nerves but 30 percent giddy excitement. Japan is about to win its first men’s major!
Actually, he might not enjoy it that much. He sends a nervous wedge into the bunker to the right. Still some work to do, and Zalatoris is on the range, keeping warm, just in case. Schauffele spins his approach to 12 feet, but it’s too little, too late. Warm applause as the pair come up the last, and Matsuyama politely acknowledges the crowd, but he’s understandably preoccupied with the task in hand.
Matsuyama obviously decided early doors that he was going to go for it, whatever the situation. That’d explain his approach to 13 that nearly got snaffled by the azaleas, and the hot iron over 15 that nearly spoilt it all. But it’s an approach that, one way or another, has been borne out by results. He unsheathes big bertha on 18, where he could be excused for playing it safe, and skelps a wonderful tee shot into prime real estate, the centre of the fairway. He’s about to take the most enjoyable walk of his life!
Rose’s partner Marc Leishman pars the last, and puts his name to a 73. He ends the Tournament at -6. Back, then, to 17, where the last two players out there make two-putt pars. Schauffele still has that drained look, and no wonder. He’ll have only just started replaying the carnage of the 16th hole, and it’s mental footage his mind won’t erase for some time.
-11: Matsuyama (17)
-9: Zalatoris (F)
-7: Spieth (F), Schauffele (17)
-6: Rahm (F), Leishman (F)
-5: Rose (F)
Matsuyama takes another big step towards his dream by clipping his second at 17 into the front of the green. Schauffele wedges in too, but he’s not particularly close. Meanwhile a big cheer up on 18, where Justin Rose tickles in a long downhill birdie putt and signs for a 74. Still no green jacket - he ends the week at -5 - though he’s now got the slightly dubious honour of having led more rounds at Augusta without ever winning the Masters. For the record, his seven beats the five of Chris DiMarco, Lloyd Mangrum, Greg Normann and Ken Venturi.
A lovely interview with Robert MacIntyre on Sky. Chuffed to bits with his top-12 finish, he points out that he’d only previously played Augusta “on computer games with my pals”. His -2 total means he’s back here next year, but more importantly announces his talent on the big stage. Scotland has waited a while for their next golfing superstar. Here he is!
And yet, despite Schauffele’s dramatic capitulation, this is still not secure for Matsuyama ... because on 18, Zalatoris rolls in a 20-footer to save his par, and post a new clubhouse lead at -9! There’s still only two shots in this. Can Matsuyama hold his nerve? His drive down the middle of 17 says yes.
-11: Matsuyama (16)
-9: Zalatoris (F)
-7: Spieth (F), Schauffele (16)
Schauffele does well to chip down from the bank to 12 feet. But the double-bogey putt is slippery, and always missing to the right. A sickening triple-bogey six, and his brave bid is kaput. A major will be his sometime soon, though, surely; he ends in the top ten too often. His pain will be compounded by Matsuyama’s three-putt bogey, a slip that will add to the magnitude of this particular If Only.
Spieth’s bid comes to a conclusive end at 18. His approach comes up short of the green, and he can’t get up and down. A final round of 70, and he finishes the week at -7, poised to finish fourth as things stand. He had his chances to win this week, but didn’t quite have his A-game with him. A-minus, mind you. So nearly there. But he’s back! Perhaps the golfing gods have a win at the PGA next month lined up for him instead, which would complete his career slam. How about it, huh?
Matsuyama finds the green with his tee shot, though he’ll have a tricky two putts down the hill. However, it might not matter, because Schauffele sends his third, from the drop zone, into the patrons lining the back of the green. He looks close to tears as he trudges up, his hopes and dreams within reach minutes ago, but now so far away. It’s difficult to watch.
Schauffele pulls his tee shot at 16 into the water! After all that, clawing himself back into contention with those four birdies in a row, he throws it away with a heavy contact, his ball bouncing sadly into the drink. As the water ripples, the blood drains from the young man’s face. What a shocker. The sort of shot that will live with him for years.
It’s all happening in this final match! But that doesn’t mean the drama is the exclusive preserve of Matsuyama and Schauffele. Up on 18, birdie for Bob MacIntyre! It’s a 72, he’s -2, and he’s in a tie for 12th right now, which will earn him an invite back next year. On 17, birdie for Zalatoris, who moves to -9 to remain in the hunt. And Spieth splits the fairway on 18, in search of a birdie that would set a target.
Matsuyama decides to take the putter out instead, and lags up to kick-in distance. He taps in for bogey. Smart play after making the mistake with his approach. World-class damage limitation. But Schauffele tidies up for birdie, and suddenly the gap at the top is just two!
-12: Matsuyama (15)
-10: Schauffele (15)
Matsuyama clips his fourth into the bank. He doesn’t quite make the green, but rather that than overhitting and watching his ball trundle across the glassy surface and into the drink on the other side. He’ll still face a tricky chip and putt for bogey, though. Before that, it’s Schauffele’s turn from the bunker ... and he nearly guides it in for eagle with some soft-handed magic! He’ll be tapping in for birdie. But before, it’s back to Matsuyama ...
As Matsuyama ponders his options, there’s bedlam on 16. That’s because Leishman is an inch or so away from making the third ace of the 2021 Masters. One more turn is all it required. He’ll tap in for birdie that’ll bring him back to -6.
Meanwhile, up on 17, Spieth sends a lovely second into the heart of the green, then rolls in a 15-footer for birdie. He’s -8, and given the travails of Matsuyama, isn’t out of this either.
Oh my. Matsuyama is a long way back, and decides to go for it anyway. His long iron takes a flyer. The ball sails over the green, takes a big bounce off the bank at the back, and into the drink! Schauffele’s approach isn’t ideal either ... but he’s in the bunker to the right of the green and dry. This is not over. It isn’t over!
Matsuyama and Schauffele wait at the top of the hill on 15, watching quietly as Rose takes two putts for a bogey six. Par for Leishman. Both men in the penultimate group are -5 overall, two over for their rounds today.
Matsuyama and Schauffele whip their drives down the middle of 15. A couple of big second shots coming up. Meanwhile on 17, MacIntyre drops another shot, and while he’ll probably not make the top 12 for a 2022 invite now, this has still been a brilliant performance by the 24-year-old debutant, and Scotland has a new golfing star at long last. He’s -1
Spieth sends his tee shot at 16 into MacIntyre Country, the ball failing to catch the slope towards the hole. He’s left with that tricky two-putt for par, but he’s got more experience round here than the young man from Oban, and grinds it out. He stays at -7. Meanwhile back on 15, Rose’s second into the green spins back down the bank and into the drink. It was a brilliant opening-day 65 by Rose, but nothing’s quite clicked since.
Matsuyama sends a confident, borderline aggressive putt towards the cup. It nicks the left lip and rolls on a couple of feet, but he makes the one coming back. Schauffele then tidies up for his third birdie in a row. This is still not quite over. It’s been a very impressive comeback by Schauffele, after that four-shot capitulation of 3, 4 and 5. Birdie for Zalatoris at 15, by the way. The debutant hasn’t thrown in the towel yet either!
-13: Matsuyama (14)
-9: Schauffele (14)
-8: Zalatoris (15)
-7: Spieth (15)
Matsuyama knocks his approach at 14 to 13 feet. That’s magnificent, but nothing on Schauffele’s effort, which nearly spins into the cup. He’ll surely tap that in from a couple of feet for a birdie that’ll take him up to -9. But first, can the leader slot his chance away? It’d be another match-play style bodyblow for Schauffele if he does!
Schauffele and Matsuyama take turns to split the 14th fairway. Matsuyama is all smiles again. Up on 15, it’s just a par for Spieth, and that’s his last chance of applying some distant pressure on the leader gone. And on 16, MacIntyre three-putts to slip back to -12, just outside the places for an automatic invitation for 2022. Bah.
Matsuyama responds to all this sudden adversity with aplomb! He chips gracefully down from the bank, from 30 yards to three feet. Schauffele fails to make his eagle putt, having been spooked in the match-play style, and what briefly threatened to become a two-shot swing - maybe more - ends with both men carding birdies. That was a marvellous response by the leader, and that delicate, nerveless chip is probably the shot that secures the win.
-13: Matsuyama (13)
-8: Schauffele (13)
-7: Spieth (14), Zalatoris (14)
-6: Rahm (F), Rose (13)
-5: Reed (17), Leishman (13)
Great news of Oban’s finest, Bob MacIntyre! Having started slowly with bogey at 1 and double at 6, he’s since birdied 8, 9, 12 and now 15, a run that’s brought him up to -3, and a place in the top ten that’d ensure his return next year. Mind you, his tee shot into 16 doesn’t catch the slope, and that’ll be a hideous two putts down the green for par.
All of a sudden, Matsuyama isn’t thinking straight. You’d imagine with his advantage, he’d lay up from the first cut. But he decides to whip a long iron over the creek. He tugs it, and the ball’s heading for the azaleas, but it fortunately hits the bank and sits down in the greenside rough. Still not ideal, but had that ball been sailing a few inches higher, it’d have plugged in the shrubbery. Schauffele, sensing a slither of light, turns the heat up by arrowing his second from 165 yards to ten feet! He’ll have a great look for eagle. Well, well, well. Masters Sunday, right here!
The first sign of nerves from Matsuyama since the opening few holes? He sends his drive at 13 into the trees down the right, and gets a huge break as the ball crashes off a trunk and is spat back out into the first cut. He breaks into a jog and pops off to the Little Room. Who can blame him? I’d be necking so much Imodium in his position, you could rattle me like a pair of maracas.
The 2018 champ Patrick Reed is putting together a nice little finishing flourish. Four birdies in a row, the latest at 16, where he nearly aced in the traditional Sunday style, the ball feeding down towards the hole from the centre of the green. He’s -5, suddenly tied for sixth. He’ll be cursing his 75 on Friday.
Matsuyama can’t make his par saver, but he’ll have mentally settled for bogey the minute his tee shot found sand. Meanwhile Schauffele rattles in a birdie putt from the fringe, while Spieth converts his chance at 14. So suddenly the lead is only - only! - five, but now three players are on his shoulder. It’s not quite over yet.
-12: Matsuyama (12)
-7: Spieth (14), Zalatoris (13), Schauffele (12)
-6: Rahm (F)
If anyone’s going to make a Hail Mary run at Matsuyama, you’d imagine it’d be Jordan Spieth. Having just birdied 13, he now slings his second at 14 from 150 yards to five feet! If he gets that ... well, let’s not get silly, but Matsuyama is very conservative with his splash out of the bunker at the back of 12, in order to avoid a dramatic splash in the creek. (Remember how Tiger ran up double figures here back in November!) He’ll have a 20-footer for par.
A lovely warm cheer for Matsuyama as he reaches the 12th tee. The patrons know their
onions, and they’re almost certainly serenading the new Masters champion. Matsuyama sends his tee shot over the green into the bunker at the back. Not ideal, but neither is it wet. Six shots ahead, he’ll take that.
Another sensational approach by Tony Finau! Unlike the one on 7, this one at 14 is all skill, no luck, pitching 20 feet past the flag and using a combination of bank and backspin to reverse his ball into the cup for birdie. He’s -2. Meanwhile back on 11, two careful putts for Matsuyama and it’s a more than acceptable par. He’s one step closer to glory ... although the next shot is the one he’ll have been dreading. Stay dry at 12, and you’d imagine he’ll make it home safely. Here we go, then!
Spieth reaches the par-five 13th with two big booms. But his measly reward is a 50-foot eagle curler. He does very well to tease his first putt to four feet, but birdie’s not enough if he’s to force a dramatic capitulation. He’s seven back at -6.
Zalatoris yips his short par putt, and there’s no pressure being applied whatsoever to Matsuyama. The leader is now six clear, he’s found 11 in regulation, and surely the only person that can now beat him is the man himself.
-13: Matsuyama (10)
-7: Zalatoris (12)
-6: Rahm (F), Schauffele (10)
-5: Spieth (12), Rose (11)
Up on 18, a final bogey for Phil Mickelson. He signs for a 72 and the three-time champ ends the week at level par. It’s been a good week for the 50-year-old, and could the golfing gods arrange a fairytale at Torrey Pines in June, please?
Zalatoris’s tee shot at 12 doesn’t quite reach the green ... but it’s close, and sticks dutifully on the bank without any Couplesesque drama. He’ll take that, though he nips over the Hogan Bridge like an Olympic walker, with a view to taking his second quickly, just in case his ball has any notions of rolling down the slope. No real worries of that, and he wedges quickly to four feet.
Matsuyama is left with an uphill right-to-left curler from 30 feet. He nearly teases it into the cup, but the ball stays an inch high on the right. He taps in for par ... as does Schauffele after nearly draining his 25-footer ... as does Zalatoris on 11 ... as does Spieth on 12, after nearly clipping his chip in for birdie. It’s all happening, if it’s permissible to say that after four quickfire pars.
-13: Matsuyama (10)
-8: Zalatoris (11)
-6: Rahm (F), Schauffele (10)
-5: Spieth (12), Leishman (10), Rose (10)
Back on 10, both Matsuyama and Schauffele find the dancefloor in regulation. Wide smiles as they walk up the fairway. Nervous smiles, maybe, with Amen Corner looming. Up on 11, Zalatoris reaches the green in two, but leaves himself a jittery four-footer for his par. He’ll really need to make that.
Jordan Spieth, having lived through a back-nine capitulation here, won’t be making any assumptions quite yet. He’s certainly not the type to throw in the towel, and from the fringe at 11, bundles a chip from 90 feet to four. What a par save! He remains at -5. Then the tee shot at 12 that caused him so much angst in 2016 ... and he pushes it a little. For a second, it looks like holding the fringe. Then it looks like picking up speed and dropping into Rae’s Creek. Finally it snags in the second cut, staying dry. He’ll have half a chance of bumping in a chip, and a great chance of the up and down that’ll save another par.
Yep, the final group on Sunday has reached the 10th tee. This is where Rory McIlroy’s dreams started to unravel spectacularly a decade ago, as he hooked his drive towards the cabins. No such fate befalls Hideki Matsuyama, who sends a gentle draw down the track. This is impressive stuff from the 29-year-old Japanese star, who has recovered magnificently from his stuttering start.
Zalatoris sends his approach at 10 a little long. An excitable putt back leads to bogey. That could be so costly, as back on 9, Matsuyama caresses his second to four feet, leaving himself an uphill birdie putt. In it goes, and he’s turning in 34 ... with a five-shot lead. Jordan Spieth infamously failed to convert this exact situation into glory five years ago, so nothing’s certain, but this is beginning to look like a procession. Not that the player himself will allow that thought to cross his mind, of course.
-13: Matsuyama (9)
-8: Zalatoris (10)
-6: Rahm (F), Schauffele (9)
-5: Spieth (10), Leishman (9), Rose (9)
Jon Rahm is desperate for one last birdie to make that clubhouse lead look a little bit more ominous. He crashes his drive at 18 into Position A, sending a power fade around the corner, then wedges over the flag to 15 feet. He tickles the putt down the green ... but it stops one turn short. Just a par, though that’s an exquisite final round of 66. His final total of -6 won’t be enough to win, unless something really strange unfolds, but what does it matter, when little Kepa and wife Kelley will be so proud of him?
Misery for Rose on 9, as an eight-foot par putt horseshoes out. He had to step away from that a couple of times, as gusts of wind played havoc with his stance and, more crucially I’ll be bound, his mental equilibrium. He slips back to -5. The chasing pack can’t afford a single slip, and the look of despair washing across Rose’s face illustrates that completely.
That’s a hell of a leader board, you know. Not least because, Jordan Spieth apart, nobody on it has a green jacket to their name. Additionally, Justin Rose is the only other player up there with a major to his name. And the wind is seriously picking up. Let those nerve ends jingle-jangle!
Spieth converts his birdie chance on 10. He moves to -5, and you never know, you just never know. Having said that, Matsuyama gets up and down from the back of 8, the reward for a glorious pitch, while Schauffele refuses to lie down, making it back-to-back birdies with a chip and putt of his own.
-12: Matsuyama (8)
-9: Zalatoris (9)
-6: Rahm (17), Rose (8), Schauffele (8)
-5: Spieth (10), Leishman (8)
Zalatoris makes his par putt at 9! That’s a street-fighting two-putt par on one of the trickiest greens on the course. He turns in 34 with a smile. This is one heck of a performance from a young man with ice - iced tea? - in the veins. He’s -9. Meanwhile up on 17, Rahm gets up and down from a valley to the right of the green, saving par to keep his outside hopes alive. He’s -6.
Up on 9, Zalatoris tickles his putt down the green as slowly as he possibly can. But even breathing on the ball is an act of wanton hoodlummery on this glassy surface, and his effort rolls a good eight feet past. He’ll have a testing par putt coming back. Meanwhile Jordan Spieth hasn’t given up quite yet. A birdie at 9 brings him back to -4, and now he’s drawn a delicious iron from 210 yards at 10 to four feet. Matsuyama came home in 30 yesterday; should Spieth do something similar, he may ask a few questions. Hey, what’s the point in watching sport if you’re not allowed to dream preposterous dreams?
Schauffele bombs his second into the swale to the right of the par-five 8th green. Matsuyama meanwhile has found a nice lie in the second cut to the right of the bunkers on the right. He’s able to fire a low 3-wood into the heart of the green ... and is pretty unlucky to see his ball topple off the back. There’s not a lot of green to play with there, with the pin tucked up there, but on the other hand he’s not gone all the way down the slope, so it’s swings and roundabouts in that sense.
An unlucky bounce for Zalatoris on 9. He sends his approach over the flag, and it looks for all the world like it’s going to spin back close. But somehow it digs in on its second bounce, and refuses to reverse. That’s left him with a treacherous putt down this famously sloping green.
Matsuyama’s drive down 8 misses the fairway bunker on the right, but he might find his route into the green compromised by a tree. Let’s see where that’s ended up. Schauffele splits the fairway, as does Zalatoris up on 9. This Masters is far from over. Like that’s breaking news: we all know it doesn’t start in earnest until the final group hit the turn on Sunday anyway. They’ll be hitting it soon! This is on!
Matsuyama yips it! A groan from the gallery, who know how costly that short birdie miss could be. So the gap at the top remains just two strokes. Remember he started four ahead. Schauffele makes no mistake, and it’s a birdie that stems the bleeding. Meanwhile just a par for Rahm on 16, and he’s running out of holes if he’s to post a clubhouse score that’d seriously concern the leading bunch.
-11: Matsuyama (7)
-9: Zalatoris (8)
-6: Rahm (16), Rose (7)
-5: Leishman (7), Schauffele (7)
Birdie for Will Zalatoris at the par-five 8th. He moves to within two of Matsuyama, but the leader may be about to stretch ahead again, as both he and Schauffele have sent their approaches at 7 from 115 yards to four or five feet! Meanwhile Bob MacIntyre birdies 9, hitting the turn in 37. He’s in red figures again at -1.
A dropped shot for Marc Leishman at 7, the Aussie sending a chip 12 feet past the flag, and failing to nail the putt coming back. But his partner Justin Rose moves the other way, sending a glorious second to five feet, and knocking in the birdie putt. A reminder that he’s not enjoyed the first seven holes at all this week, but made hay on the back nine. Nothing’s over quite yet. It’s unlikely ... but not over. See also: Jon Rahm, who gets up and down from the back of 15 to move into a share of third. He couldn’t, could he? The biggest final-round comeback in the Masters was by Jack Burke in 1956, pipping Ken Venturi from eight back. He’ll need another couple of birdies, surely, if he’s to set a target that would seriously worry Matsuyama.
-11: Matsuyama (6)
-8: Zalatoris (7)
-6: Rahm (15), Rose (7)
-5: Leishman (7)
Matsuyama is so close to draining his birdie putt on 6. It looks like dropping, but shaves the right lip and refuses to drop. Par, though, and he remains three in the lead at -11. Schauffele needs something, but his dies off to the left, and his par keeps him stuck at -4.
After that shaky three-hole stretch, Matsuyama may well have steadied the ship with that par scramble. He sends his tee shot at the par-three 6th to 15 feet, setting up a fine birdie chance. Schauffele, perhaps feeling less pressure now so much damage has been done, replicates the shot. He’ll have a look at birdie as well.
Zalatoris tugs his short birdie putt left at 7. A groan from the gallery. But there’s a roar back on 5, where Matsuyama rattles in a confident - borderline aggressive - par saver from 17 feet, and that’s some momentum saver! Schauffele does well to limit his damage to double bogey, splashing his second effort out of sand to three feet, but he’s dropped all the way down to -4, and that’s four shots gone in three holes.
-11: Matsuyama (5)
-8: Zalatoris (7)
-6: Leishman (6)
-5: Rahm (14), Rose (6)
-4: Schauffele (5)
-3: Smith (12), Spieth (7), Harman (7), Conners (7)
Matsuyama gives himself a chance of escaping 5 with par, wedging from 100 yards to 17 feet. More bother for Schauffele, though, who hoicks his third into sand over the back. He leaves his fourth in the sand, and his Masters slipping away from him here. Schauffele is usually a calm presence at the majors - his superb record of top-ten finishes demonstrates that - but his head is spinning here.
Matsuyama takes his medicine from the deep bunker to the left of the 5th fairway. Just a sand wedge to get back onto the fairway. Schauffele meanwhile has a real poser near the bushes to the right. His ball has stopped just short of disappearing, so he can advance it ... but he’s not got much of a swing. He does very well to force it a few yards left and into the second cut. So with the leader struggling, here’s news of the second-placed Zalatoris, who whips his approach at 7 to ten feet! He’ll have a good look at birdie, and right now he looks capable of anything. He’s the only player who seems to be enjoying himself right now, and that could end up being the difference this afternoon!
Matsuyama’s drive at 5 finds sand down the left, while Schauffele, his head addled since that mistake chipping into 3, slices into the woods on the other side of the hole. Up on the green - and you’ll have worked this out already from the leader board just posted - Rose drops another shot after sending a heavy-handed chip 16 feet past the flag.
Matsuyama plays it safe at the long par-three 4th, sending his iron to the back-left portion of the green. He cradles a 60-foot putt to a couple of feet, and tidies up for a fine two-putt par. Schauffele can’t get up and down from the sand at the front, though, and it’s back-to-back bogeys for the Californian.
-11: Matsuyama (4)
-8: Zalatoris (6)
-6: Leishman (5), Schauffele (4)
-5: Rahm (13), Conners (6), Rose (5)
One of the shots of the week by Tony Finau! Admittedly it’s an absurd one, a low iron fizzed up towards the 7th green from under the branches down the right. His ball flies into the bunker, rears up into the air straight left, then rolls serenely on a huge left-to-right arc towards the pin. It nestles a couple of inches from the cup, and he kicks in for a comedic par. He’s -2.
The course is becoming a little less responsive, while the nerves are certainly kicking in. Of the top ten players, only three - Will Zalatoris, Jon Rahm and Cameron Smith - are under par for their rounds today.
-11: Matsuyama (3)
-8: Zalatoris (5)
-7: Schauffele (3)
-6: Conners (5), Leishman (4), Rose (4)
-5: Rahm (13)
-3: Smith (10), Spieth (6), Harman (6)
Schauffele can’t get up and down from the front of 3. Bogey, and he falls out of a share of second. Matsuyama scrambles his par, though. Up on 5, Conners, always out of position after his drive, settles for bogey. Not the worst hole to drop a shot on; it’s been vying with 10 as the hardest on the course this week, so he’s not giving up too much to the field. (Incidentally, on that subject, here’s what difference a pin position can make; the 3rd has been playing as one of the easier holes this week, but today it’s been the sixth hardest, the flag tucked away on the shallow shelf to the left. Schauffele shouldn’t beat himself up too much.)
Bryson DeChambeau finishes his up-and-down week in some style, walloping a 374-yard drive over the dogleg and past the big bunkers. A wedge and a putt, and that’s a valedictory birdie. He signs for a 75, ending up at +5 for the Tournament. It hasn’t gone to plan, but it’s been a blast nonetheless. What an entertainer!
So much for laying up short. Matsuyama takes an age over his wedge into 3, the wind swirling. He eventually gives it too much, the ball flying over both flag and green. That’s a hell of a chip coming back. Schauffele next. He finds himself in two or three minds as well. In the end, he bumps one up ... and doesn’t give it enough. A really skittish effort that is never going to reach the green, toppling apologetically back down the slope at the front. Whatever you try, Augusta National’s got a trap set for you.
One of the shots of the day by Jon Rahm, who sends his short iron into the iconic and extremely troublesome par-three 12th straight at the flag. He leaves himself a three-footer for birdie, and it’s one that he’s not missing. He moves to -5 for both round and championship.
So many players have bashed their drives at 3 to the bottom of the bank at the front of the green, only to leave themselves a delicate, short, blind chip towards a small landing zone. Hats off to the final pair, then, who put their brains in gear. Schauffele sends a stinger down the right, leaving himself a full view of the dancefloor, and more room to work with. Matsuyama takes a different approach, with iron off the tee, presumably to leave himself a perfect yardage and a full swing. Of course theory is all good and well; let’s see how this pans out.
A clumsy bump-and-run from the back of 3 costs Leishman a shot. Bad news for his partner Rose too, who pulls a dismal putt from six feet. These two continue their lockstep jig around Augusta: bogey-birdie-bogey, and they’re both -6 again.
Sky have a word with a very cheerful Tyrrell Hatton, the current clubhouse leader at -1. “It’s fairly tricky out there ... a bit softer than the last few days ... the wind is all over the place and you have to pick your moments ... I’m very happy and I’ve finally broke 70 at Augusta! ... it’s nice to shoot a good score, I don’t feel the course suits me that well ... I’ll take confidence and hopefully can do a bit better next year.”
Matsuyama and Schauffele both send their second shots at 2 into the Zalatoris Bunker guarding the front right of the green ... and both flop out as elegantly as the debutant did earlier on. Both make their birdie putts, and that puts a different sheen on things. Matsuyama’s four-shot lead, which quickly shrivelled to one, is suddenly three again!
-11: Matsuyama (2)
-8: Zalatoris (3), Schauffele (2)
-7: Conners (3), Leishman (2), Rose (2)
-5: Spieth (4)
Zalatoris booms his drive at 3 to the foot of the slope near the green. He’s left himself with a short, blind chip up to an eight-yard deep section of the green. Over it goes, and he’s clumsy with the one coming back. That’s a bogey, and the end of his flying start.
-10: Matsuyama (1)
-8: Zalatoris (3)
-7: Conners (3), Leishman (2), Rose (2), Schauffele (1)
-5: Spieth (4)
Cameron Champ is this close to making the third hole-in-one of the week, and the second at 16 after Tommy Fleetwood’s effort on Thursday. He lands his tee shot to the right of the flag, allowing the slope to gather the ball towards the cup in the traditional Sunday style. Just one more turn, that’s all it required. He makes birdie that takes him back to level par.
Matsuyama sends a nerve-settling fairway-splitter down the 2nd. That should do him the world of good after that shaky opening hole. Schauffele flirts with danger down the left but just about holds the fairway. Up on the green, Rose and Leishman, having both been forced to lay up, take a chip and a putt for bounceback birdies. They’ve been in lockstep so far, and are back up to -7. Meanwhile up on 18, par for Tyrrell Hatton. His 68 leaves him at -1 for the week, and he’s the very early clubhouse leader.
Matsuyama is so unlucky! He rolls a fine putt straight at the cup, but just as it looks like dropping, it drifts wide left by the width of one dimple. So close to escaping with a par. But it’s an opening bogey, and within minutes of his taking to the tee, his four-shot advantage has shrunk to one.
-10: Matsuyama (1)
-9: Zalatoris (2)
-7: Conners (2), Schauffele (1)
-6: Leishman (1), Rose (1)
-5: Spieth (3)
-4: Rahm (10), Harman (3)
Matsuyama’s chip into 1 is unconvincing, and dies off softly to the left. He’s got a 35-footer for an unlikely par. Before he can take a run at it, his partner Schauffele gets up and down from a hollow to the right of the green. That’s a fine scramble, and he stays at -7.
Zalatoris’s playing partner, Corey Conners, also birdies 2. The Canadian is seriously unlucky with his second, which looked like taking the Oosthuizen albatross route, but inexplicably stopped halfway towards the hole. You don’t see the brakes applied there too often on Masters Sunday. Still, he moves to -7, and the final round of the Masters is already cooking!
Will Zalatoris is a superstar in the making! He sends his second at 2 into the sand guarding front right, then splashes out to eight feet. In goes the birdie putt, and suddenly the lead is only two! Factor in Matsuyama’s struggles down 1 - he can only hack back out onto the fairway, and nearly clanks a tree trunk while doing that - and this Tournament could look very different, very soon!
-9: Zalatoris (2)
-7: Conners (2), Schauffele
-6: Leishman (1), Rose (1)
-5: Spieth (2)
-4: Rahm (9), Harman (2)
The good news for Matsuyama: his opening drive hasn’t gone out of bounds. Also, there’s a route out of the trees towards the green. But he’ll be forced to fire out low, so holding the green will be tricky. Up on that green, Rose and Leishman both fail to get up and down from the hill down the back, and they slip to -6.
No Delta ticket quite yet for Jordan Spieth! His drive at 2 didn’t quite make it into the bushes, so he can take a lash at the ball. He sends it off near the 3rd tee, but then chips delicately up from that tight spot to ten feet, and makes the birdie putt! He’s back to -5 ... and back on the 1st tee, the leader Hideki Matsuyama sends a big slice towards the trees down the right! A nervy start that betrays the amount of thinking he’ll have done about his situation since making that 65 yesterday evening. His partner Xander Schauffele clips his 3-wood down the middle.
Justin Rose is out and about, and in a bit of trouble at the 1st, having sent his approach down the swale to the left of the green. His playing partner Marc Leishman follows him down there. Not the ideal start for the chasers in the penultimate pairing.
Four birdies in a row for Tyrrell Hatton! The latest comes at 16, where he slam-dunked his tee shot three feet from the flag. He’s -1, not bad going for a player who earlier this week freely admitted Augusta doesn’t seem to suit his game. Meanwhile up on 18, a par for his compatriot Paul Casey, who signs for a 69, finishing the week at +1.
... but not before reporting on the ice-cool debutant Zalatoris, who knocked his second at Tea Olive into the heart of the green, then rolled in the 25-footer for birdie! The perfect start for the 24-year-old from San Francisco!
-7: Schauffele, Leishman, Rose
-6: Conners (1)
-4: Rahm (8), Spieth (1), Harman (1)
-3: Reed (4), Wiesberger (3), Finau (2)
Another birdie for Jon Rahm, this time at 8. That’s his third birdie of the week at this par-five, a hole that perhaps owed him something after the farcical triple-bogey from the centre of the fairway that scuppered his chances back in November. He moves to -4, and it’s probably about time to update the old leader board for the first time today ...
Spieth hooks his drive at 2 into the ditch down the left, and now he cuts a thoroughly miserable figure. On Sky, Butch Harmon tells the story of the old pros who used to say there’s a Delta Airlines desk down there, because if that’s where you find yourself, you’ll be picking up your ticket home.
Will Zalatoris is bidding to become the first debutant to win at Augusta since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. Reasonably unknown going into this Tournament - despite finishing sixth at the last US Open, where he made one ace and was an inch or so away from another in the opening round - it’s little surprise that the MC stumbles over his surname while announcing him on the 1st tee. He whistles his drive into the first cut down the left. Meanwhile up on the green, Jordan Spieth makes a three-putt bogey, and walks off with the air of a man who knows his slim chance is now almost non-existent. He’s -4.
Paul Casey makes his birdie putt on 16. That’s four in a row, and he’s back to level par. His best game has arrived on site too late, something that’s often been the case at the majors. Matt Kuchar is a past master at this sort of behaviour too. Meanwhile on 18, the old campaigner Jose Maria Olazabal drains a long valedictory birdie effort and celebrates with a huge grin, the patrons roaring the two-time winner back to the clubhouse. That’s a third 75 of the week for the 59-year-old Spaniard, to go along with Friday’s brilliant 71. He ends the week at +8.
It’s been a great week for the young Scottish hope Bob MacIntyre. An opening-day 74 followed by two 70s, some effort on debut. But he’s started with a stutter today, sending his second into a greenside trap and taking three to get down. He slips to +1 early doors. “I took a bit of stick from my mates during today’s round,” begins Martin Gilraine. “I backed Rory, Westy and Billy Horschel; jinxed all three of them. I then backed Justin before he teed off yesterday; jinxed him too. My friend Geoff was pretty smug as he has bets alive on Speith, Thomas ... and Matsuyama at 40-1! He’s just texted me: he’s backed em all in the Open instead of the Masters. Priceless!” Remember kids, when the fun stops, stop.
Plenty of eagles at 2 today. Patrick Reed is the latest to make one, creaming his iron to ten feet and knocking in the putt. That’s the fifth of the final round already, and the hole is averaging just under 4.3 today. A par here will feel like a dropped shot. God forbid making bogey or worse. Reed is =3 overall.
On 13, Bryson converts that mega drive into eagle with insouciant ease. He knocks his second from 162 yards to six feet, and he’s +3 again, finally going in the right direction today after bogeys at 8, 11 and 12.
Thanks Luke. So here we all are, careering towards the business end of the 85th Masters Tournament. And tell you what, Jon Rahm could sell that birdie-eagle start for a few bronze centimes. At -3 for his round and the Tournament, he’s almost certainly too far behind for it to be of any use to him personally, but he can console himself with being the joint hottest property out there right now. Also three under today: Paul Casey, who birdies 13, 14 and 15 to move to +1. And he’s just clipped his tee shot at 16 to five feet. Four in a row looks more likely than not, and that’s a sequence he could sell for a pretty penny to one of the title hopefuls later this afternoon.
Today’s prime mover thus far, Jon Rahm, records a solid par at the par-three sixth hole. Horschel ends up with a bogey at the 15th, and is now seven over for the tournament.
And with that, I will put you back in the capable hands of Scott Murray, to guide you through to the conclusion of this captivating tournament.
Morikawa and Poulter are both back to two under par for their rounds. Jon Rahm is three under for the day through five holes.
At the par-five 13th, DeChambeau marmalises his tee shot straight and true (he was hitting driver, as you can probably guess). But over at the 15th, there is more trouble for Horschel, who is in the water again! He looked to have completely misjudged the wind and sent his approach shot flying through the green and into the H2O.
A reminder that Hideki Matsuyama leads the tournament at -11 after that incredible, bogey-free round of 65 yesterday. Xander Schauffele, Marc Leishman, Justin Rose and Will Zalatoris make up a group of four players who are four shots back. It is now under an hour until the Japanese tournament leader tees off, playing with Schauffele.
DeChambeau has a horrible lie at the back of the bunker, and a shot that could go wrong in about 300 different ways, but he hits a brilliant shot that rolls politely on to the green and feeds down, slowly, to the hole to leave himself a shortish par putt.
The wind is noticeably picking up. Casey is about to putt for a birdie at 14, but he pulls away from the shot, seemingly because there was a strong gust. No matter - he re-addresses the ball and strokes in the putt for a second birdie in as many holes.
Poulter misses his putt for par on the 12th, and walks away with a bogey four. DeChambeau now follows up on the 12th by doing exactly the same thing as Poulter and slightly overcooking his tee shot, finding the bunker at the back of the green. The wind on that whole is ludicrously difficult to read and club selection, consequently, is a fine art. Even Tiger Woods achieved double figures at the 12th back in November:
Ian Poulter, who is rolling along nicely at three under for the day, hits his tee shot at the 12th long, and finds a bunker at the back of the green. He caresses a very good bunker shot on to the green, though, and leaves himself about six feet for par.
Back at the 11th, DeChambeau three-putts for a bogey five.
The Horschel saga continues at the 13th. He has a very long, incredibly fast downhill putt, which he barely touches, and does very well to leave himself around a three-foot putt to finish off this nightmare hole. Casey, meanwhile, leaves his eagle putt a little short, which must be frustrating, especially as it was a fast downhill putt too. He taps it in for birdie though. Horschel takes a triple-bogey eight, and he is +6 now.
Poulter, Rahm and Morikawa are all three under par for the day. In about an hour and 10 minutes, meanwhile, our current leader Hideki Matsuyama will be teeing off for the biggest round of golf of his life.
Mickelson birdies the par-five second, then crashes his drive way to the right at the third.
This isn’t great for Horschel ... He can’t reach the green with his fifth shot, and the best he can do here is a double bogey, but it’s more likely going to be a triple unless he hits an inspired shot next.
Billy Horschel has pulled his trousers up again, because after his drive at the 13th, his ball is sitting right on the edge of the creek and he needs to stand in the water to hit it. He tries to hack it out of the water, and succeeds only in squirting the ball a few feet, further up on to the bank by the creek. He has another bash at it, and moves the ball all of four inches in the deep grass. He gives up on it, flicking the ball dismissively with his club, and takes a penalty drop. He will be hitting his fifth shot into the green of this par five.
Casey, meanwhile, shows how it’s done, following up a perfect drive to the right-hand edge of the fairway with a cracking iron shot on to the green, and he will have a look at eagle from 20 feet or so.
Jon Rahm is on the move. He birdied the first, then eagled the second, hitting an astonishing second shot with he faded perfectly around the bunker on the right-hand side of the green. He records a par at the third, and he’s three under par for the day.
Paul Casey has produced a fine tee shot to 15 feet or so at the 12th, while his playing partner Billy Horschel hits an inspired shot to inside three feet from a greenside bunker. Casey misses the putt, but a par at the 12th isn’t a bad thing. He is even par for the day and +4 overall. Horschel saves his par having been in the bunker, which is even better.
Back at the 10th, DeChambeau crushes his drive over 300 yards, straight down the middle.
Thank you Scott and good evening, everyone. Sunday night at the Masters - it doesn’t get any better than this. Unless you prefer Saturday, I guess. The Masters is simply the best sporting event on the telly, is it not?
As for this year’s action, Luke McLaughlin will take you by the hand and lead you through the azalea-studded arena for the next hour. I’m off to drink a pint of Golf Gin. It’s “botanically rich”, which I think means that it gets to your thirst FAST. See you in 60 minutes!
So what were we doing on the corresponding Sunday last year? Sitting sadly in lockdown, the Masters postponed, (Bobby) Jonesing for some hot Augusta action. We filled the void the best we could, by going back to 1986 and pretending we were young again. Hey, we’ve wasted your time in far more egregious ways down the years. Why not enjoy again?
Bryson screeches a sensational wedge from 108 yards to ten feet. Magnificent! He pulls his par putt, though, and that’s an end to his ersatz Nick Faldo tribute act. Par-par-par-par-par-par-par ... bogey. He’s +3. Meanwhile from the US Open champ to last year’s PGA winner: a birdie for Collin Morikawa on 6, the reward for sending his tee shot straight at the flag, nine feet short. He’s -1 again.
Bryson takes his drop, though he’s forced to teeter precariously on a tree root as he blasts out. “Good shot Bryson!” cries a
patron, as the player himself bashes his club into the ground in theatrical disagreement. But he’s back out on the fairway, with a chance of salvaging par if he can get up and down from 100 yards or so. High standards, these pro golfers, huh.
Ian Poulter, in the match ahead of DeChambeau, finds the 8th green in two hearty blows. Two putts later - the first ten feet short, the second nervelessly nailed - and he moves to three under for his round, and level par for the Tournament. He remains the hottest property out there today.
Bryson finds his ball in the middle of a bush. He briefly considers playing it from where it lies, which would be utterly ridiculous, but highly entertaining. However he opts instead, sensibly, to take an unplayable. While he works out what to do from there, here’s news of Matt Wallace, who eagles 2 after sending a near-Oosthuizenesque second to four feet and tidying up. He’s -1.
Yep, looking forward to it immensely, for many reasons. Bryson pivots at great velocity as he sends his drive deep into the nonsense down the side of 8. That’s miles right, and the only surprise is he didn’t corkscrew into the ground, all the way through to India. What power! What misdirected power! This could be fun. Of course, ending up in trouble down 8 is no guarantee of failure, as anybody who saw Jordan Spieth’s absurd escape from the bushes down the left to set up birdie yesterday. God speed, Bryson.
Bryson makes it seven straight pars, managing to get up and down from the front of 7. He did it in style, as well, throwing his chip 20 feet behind the hole and using the slope of the green to bring his ball back to four feet. He tidied up nicely, too, because that par putt might have been a short one, but it was slippery as well. He remains at +2 and I have to say I’m already looking forward to seeing New Post-Lockdown Bryson plotting his way around the links at Sandwich in July.
Jones and Morikawa continue in lockstep, but this time they’re both making bogey at 4. They slip back to level par overall, and now only Ian Poulter is a couple of shots better off today. Augusta is not giving much away right now.
More DeChambeantics, this time up on 7. He batters a 338-yard drive down the middle of the fairway, only to send his wedge back-spinning hysterically off the front of the green. The patrons let out as one a groan of disappointment; it’s just not quite happening for the reigning US Open champ, who is busy stringing together a very uncharacteristic run of pars. Who knew Bryson had an inner Faldo?
The PGA champion Collin Morikawa fell out of contention with yesterday’s 75. He’s started nicely today, though, with birdies at 2 and 3 to rise to -1. He and his partner Matt Jones are clearly feeding off each other’s positive energy; the Aussie, briefly a presence at the top of the leader board earlier this week, has matched him shot for shot and he’s -1 too. Along with the aforementioned Ian Poulter, they’re the only players currently two under for their round today.
The chasing pack haven’t given up all hope of reining in the leader later today, as Justin Rose explained last night after his disappointing yet determined 72. “I didn’t play well enough today, simple as that really,. I think all in all, to have a shot tomorrow, I’m delighted. Have that freedom to take a run at it. I’ve been playing with the lead the whole week and obviously there’s been an hour of golf where Hideki has moved out there in front. All the guys chasing at seven under par are all capable of that little run that Hideki has had, so it’s all up for grabs.”
Some news that will gladden the heart of the leader Hideki Matsuyama, and perhaps settle a few pre-round nerves. There are currently 22 players out on the course, and only six of them are under par for their round. There’s not a whole lot of low scoring going on. The only man two under for his round right now is Ian Poulter; the 45-year-old Englishman has birdied 1, 2 and 5, dropping his only shot today at 4. He’s +1.
You’d expect Cameron Champ to go very close here one year. He hits the ball miles, yet never looks as though the needle will shear off in the red zone, unlike, say ... but let’s not rag on poor Bryson again. He finished in a tie for 19th on debut back in November, and yesterday’s 77 was a severe disappointment after two fine rounds of 72 and 68. The 25-year-old Texan appears to be back in the groove early this morning, with a smooth approach into the heart of 2, and coming within the width of the Srixon logo of his eagle putt dropping. He’s level par for the week, and will be desperately wishing he could take back his mid-round Saturday slump that cost him six strokes in ten holes.
The oldest swinger left in town this weekend is the two-time champ Jose Maria Olazabal. The 59-year-old has had a fine week so far, perfectly acceptable rounds of 75 sandwiching a superb 71. But energy reserves may be getting low, and even Spanish geniuses can come badly unstuck around Augusta National. He suffers a nightmare triple-bogey at 7, finding the trees down the right twice, then shooting straight through the green from a bunker. That’s followed by a bogey at the par-five 8th, messing about in the shrubs down the left, just like his younger compatriot Jon Rahm during the third round last November. The living legend is now +8, but he’ll always have 1994 and 1999.
Here’s the first, but I’ll be bound not the last, eagle on the par-five 2nd today. Jason Kokrak creams his second into the heart of the green, allowing the camber to bring his ball along a big left-to-right arc and gather it to three feet. It never had the glorious inevitability of Louis Oosthuizen’s famous albatross shot of 2012, though if you can picture that one, you’re not too far off picturing the journey of this fine approach. Kokrak moves to level par for the Tournament, and whatever he does today - unless he somehow gets himself disqualified - will guarantee his best finish here. The late-bloomer from Ohio (via Canada) has only played at the Masters once before, last November, and missed the cut.
Before the start of the week, the legendary coach Butch Harmon dismissed talk of DeChambeau gaining any sort of meaningful advantage with his prodigious length. The two-time champion Bernhard Langer agreed, too, pointing out that knowing how to plot your way around, plus the best places to miss, is a much more important skill for Augusta. There’s a case in point here at the short par-four 3rd, where he burns the cover off his ball with a giant smack that nearly lands on the green. But it stops just short, and suddenly he’s left with a very delicate chip up the steep bank, blind, with not much green to play with. He only just squeaks it onto the putting surface, and has to settle for par on a hole that averaged 3.6 on Friday and 3.7 yesterday. There’s many a player who’d take a lesser club off the tee for a comfortable yardage and a sight of the flag. A lesson learned, maybe. And that lesson is: listen to Butch and Bernhard, kids!
While a few of the early starters are in the red for their rounds today, here’s a gentle reminder that things can go south down south pretty quickly. Brendon Todd has crashed down the standings after four bogeys in his first six holes. He’s +8 all of a sudden, and only the 2013 champion Adam Scott - now 40, if you want to feel old - is worse off, at +12.
Yep, knew it. DeChambeau gently slaps the ball from the sand to six feet. He can’t make the unlikely birdie, pulling his putt in annoying fashion, but he’d have taken par when he was watching his ball on its descent into the bunker. He remains at +2. Meanwhile Paul Casey does extremely well to salvage his par from the back of 4, bumping a chip from 45 feet to a couple of inches. He taps in to remain at +2. And there’s a fast start for Ian Poulter, who birdies the opening two holes to zip up to +1.
Bryson DeChambeau is known as The Scientist. As experiments go, this week has been less Alexander Fleming at St Mary’s Hospital 1928, more Anatoly Dyatlov at Pripyat 1986. An opening round of 76 pretty much stymied him from the off, and though his 67 on Friday was a battling masterclass, yesterday’s 75 was a return to the sort of wild play that will rarely pay dividends around Augusta. He’s at it again today, sending an overcooked slice deep into the pine straw down the right of 2, then slipping mid-thrash to dunk his second into the bunker front-right of the green. With the pin tucked just behind the trap, and plenty of sand to cross, he’s faced with one heck of a poser. Thing is with Bryson, there’s a fair chance he’ll find a way to caress it close. Soft hands for a big man. Whether on-form or miles off it, you have to say he’s always entertaining.
Woodland goes backwards, finding the bunker guarding the front right of the long par-three 4th, and failing to make his sand save. He’s +3 again. Coming behind him, Casey might be in danger of doing the same, firing his 4-iron through the back of the green. He’ll have an awkward chip in from there. The greens have clearly dried out after the precipitation-fest that allowed Matsuyama to run riot across the back nine yesterday evening.
If this isn’t going to turn into a procession, you’d imagine someone will have to give Hideki Matsuyama something to think about before he even swings a club in anger. Will anyone make a run from the pack? A couple of signs that a charge isn’t beyond the realms, albeit from players too far back to make a difference themselves. Early birdie-birdie combos from the 2019 US Open champion Gary Woodland and perennial major bridesmaid Paul Casey, at 2 and 3, and 1 and 2 respectively. Both rise to +2 overall.
“I have a question for you.” Fire away, Thomas Nolan. “Do you know why Will Zalatoris is teeing off before Justin Rose this evening? They are both tied on -7 but Zalatoris shot a better round yesterday (71) than Rose did (72) so I thought he would tee off after Rose.” Fleet’s finest tidied up on 18 last night before Zalatoris, so technically got back to the clubhouse at -7 first. So he’s ahead in the queue. Zalatoris can take comfort in the fact that, though he’s in the third-to-last group, he goes into the final round tied for second, and in the top five. That’s statistically important, in so much as the last 31 winners of this tournament have all been in the top five going into the final round. You have to go back to 1989, when eventual champion Nick Faldo thought he’d blown his chances with a 77 on Saturday, going into the last round tied for ninth, for that particular sequence to be broken.
The weather forecast. It’s good news: we’re unlikely to be delayed at any point today. The storms of yesterday have been and gone. It’s going to be cloudy for the most part, though the sun will hopefully peek through eery now and then. That’s more likely later on, when the wind may pick up a little too. That’ll have the effect of firming up the course, as well as making the old shot selection a bit more of a poser. Something for the late starters to think about, and a straw to clutch for the chasing pack. The chance of rain today is only 15 percent.
The pin positions for the final round. Plenty of Sunday classics here! Pretty much every hole, actually, though 2, 9, 11, 15, 16 and 18 in particular get the blood pumping like Buddy Rich.
On the subject of the pimento-cheese sandwich ... and what better subject is there? ... if you don’t cry creamy tears of peppery happiness at this sweet father-and-son story, you’ve a heart of the hardest stone.
A long day stretches out ahead of us, and growing golf-crazed youngsters need their energy. Pimento cheese sandwiches all round, then. However: a warning! They’re an acquired taste, as this chap, who decided to eat nothing but the famous Augusta National delicacy for an Homeric 24-hour stretch, found out. But you’re hooked, right? So how about, in honour of our 54-hole leader, this Asian twist on the Masters classic? Happy eating, y’all.
OK, pop-crazed youngsters, there’s only one place to start. Crank it up!
“I hope I can follow in her shoes and make Japan proud.” Tsubasa Kajitani won the 2021 Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship last weekend, and today, Hideki Matsuyama has a chance to make it a quick-fire Japanese double by winning the Masters. History beckons.
We should probably qualify that statement, though: Hideki Matsuyama has one hell of a chance of winning the Masters. The 29-year-old from the island of Shikoku goes into the final day with a four-shot lead over his nearest rivals, having returned from yesterday afternoon’s weather delay to take a mere 25 shots over his final seven-and-a-half holes, a run that included a three-putt par at the 13th! It’s fair to say he hit quite the vein of form, located, he says, while kicking back during the break and fiddling with his phone.Continue reading...
- Hideki Matsuyama takes charge after weather delay
- Japanese star comes back in 30 to lead by four
- Official Masters leaderboard
So it’s Hideki Matsuyama’s to lose, after closing with four birdies and an eagle in his last eight holes, en route to a blemish-free 65. He leads by four, though as the likes of Greg Norman and Rory McIlroy can painfully attest, nothing’s ever certain on Masters Sunday. Thanks for reading this report, and we hope to see you tomorrow!
-7: Schauffele, Leishman, Rose, Zalatoris
-2: MacIntyre, Kim, Wiesberger
Par for Zalatoris too, and that’s a 71 for the young debutant. What a performance by the young man from San Francisco. We’d all be talking about it ... had Matsuyama not burned up the back nine upon coming back from the weather delay.
Rose prowls around his chip ... but unlike Matsuyama earlier, there’s no magic. He hits a weak effort up and onto the green, but he’s left with a 15-footer for his par. And he makes it! What a salvage job he’s done on the last few holes with the flat stick, grinding out several pars that could easily have become bogeys. It’s another 72, and he’s still in this, despite battling his game all the way home. Just.
There’s a route out of the trees for Rose ... but he can only fly his escape down the swale to the left of the green. Zalatoris however gives himself a real chance of making the final group, whipping his approach over the flag to 12 feet. He’ll have a good look at birdie coming up, and he can’t wait to scope it out, bounding up the 18th fairway like an excitable pup. He’s having a lot of fun on his debut.
Up on the green, Brian Harman is a dimple away from a birdie that would have given him a 73. But it’s a two-over 74, and the only player to have shot sub-70 rounds on both Thursday and Friday ends the day at -4. Par too for Marc Leishman, who signs for a 70 and as things stand right now, will be in the penultimate group tomorrow afternoon. He’s -7.
It looks unlikely. Rose sends his drive into the trees down the right of 18, the spot - and the shot - that cost him the play-off against Sergio Garcia back in 2017.
Rose digs deep to get up and down from the front of 17. That’s yet another street-fighting par, but he’s been hanging on by his fingertips here. It’s incredibly impressive, but Thursday’s 65 is beginning to look like an outlier rather than the foundations for a title tilt. Can he find something down the last that would secure a place in the final pairing, giving him the chance to apply some match-play pressure to Matsuyama?
Spieth’s birdie putt lips out on the left. That’s his day in microcosm; nearly, but just not quite there. A 72 as he ends round three at -5; he’s one of a few fringe hopefuls that will require Matsuyama to suffer a McIlroy-or-Normanesque final-round collapse tomorrow if he’s to have any chance.
Rose is fighting his game this afternoon. His tee shot at 17 flirts with the trees down the left. He elects to whip over them, but can’t quite reach the green. He holds his hands on his hips and stares at the floor. A study in frustration. Zalatoris is on in regulation, but not particularly close.
If Jordan Spieth is to win his second green jacket tomorrow, he needs something to happen here on 18, you’d have thought. Well, he’s given himself a chance, swishing his approach pin high. He’ll have a look at birdie from seven feet. If he makes it, he’ll move to within five strokes, and perhaps give Matsuyama something to think about. These are the straws he’ll be clutching at right now.
Rose’s tee shot at 16 dunks into sand. He splashes out to eight feet, a fine bunker shot given he was landing on a down slope, but the par saver is always shyly turning left. It’s now a four-shot lead at the top, and unless someone still out on the course can make it to -8, Matsuyama will be going round with Schauffele again tomorrow, only this time in the final pairing.
-11: Matsuyama (F)
-7: Schauffele (F), Leishman (16), Rose (16), Zalatoris (16)
-6: Conners (F)
-5: Spieth (17), Harman (16)
-3: Finau (F), Wiesberger (17)
-2: MacIntyre (F), Kim (F)
It never happened for the pairing of Cameron Champ and Kim Si-woo today. Kim never recovered from that bogey-bogey start, ending the day with a 74, while Champ signed for a 77 that included a visit to Rae’s Creek and a double-bogey seven on 13. Champ stumbled down the standings to +1, while Kim slipped down to -2.
Rose rolls his par putt straight into the cup. That’s a stunning up and down to save par, his second in a row. He’s hanging on in there ... and if he can pick anything up on the way home, he’ll sleep a lot more soundly tonight. Birdie for Zalatoris, meanwhile, the young debutant flatly refusing to go away. He’s been mightily impressive.
-11: Matsuyama (F)
-8: Rose (15)
-7: Schauffele (F), Leishman (16), Zalatoris (15)
-6: Conners (F)
-5: Spieth (16), Harman (16)
To Rose’s great credit, he gathers himself and bumps calmly back up onto the green. That’s a marvellous effort from 25 yards to five feet. If he gets out of here with par, it will seriously improve his mood.
Rose is forced to chip out of the trees down the left of 15. He then gets a flyer with his wedge, and his ball briefly threatens to race into the water over the back of the green. But it stops on the bank, just in time. A mixture of bemusement and frustration plays across his face. Perhaps he’s glanced at the leader board, and knows what Matsuyama’s been up to. Perhaps he thinks the game is already up. He needs to snap out of his funk, and quick. It’s only Moving Day, and the Masters doesn’t start until the 10th on Sunday. There’s plenty of time to go.
While Matsuyama was wriggling elegantly out of trouble on 18, Leishman made birdie at 15. Up on 16, it’s a three-putt bogey for Spieth. And back down the 15th Rose hooked his drive into trouble down the left. But never mind all that. Hideki Matsuyama, ladies and gentlemen! Since coming back out after the weather break, he took a mere 25 strokes over seven-and-a-half holes. That included a three-putt par on 13. What a performance! The sort of burst of activity that could land the 29-year-old Japanese star, so close in the majors so often, his first big prize.
Schauffele to go first. He bumps up from the swale to the left of the green, leaving himself a ten-footer to salvage par. He’ll make it. Then Matsuyama, who is halfway up the path towards the scorer’s hut. But what a stunner he produces! Crisply clipped, and yet gently delivered, he lands his wedge at the bottom of the incline he’s standing on, bumping it left to right and rolling it to a couple of feet. That’s as good a shot as you’ll see for a long time. He rolls in the par putt, and that’s him back in 30, signing for a 65. That’s the only round this week without a blemish on the card. What a way to do it!
-11: Matsuyama (F)
-8: Rose (14)
-7: Schauffele (F), Leishman (15)
On 18, Schauffele sends his approach wide left, while Matsuyama - far enough back in the bunker to go for the green - sends a booming wedge miles over the flag and off the back. Adrenaline not his friend there. He’s way over the back of the green, 25 yards of undulation away from the flag. If he gets up and down from there, this really will feel like his week.
Two putts for Spieth, and he’ll take the birdie on 15. Back on 14, Rose bumps up cutely to 12 feet, quite a result from where he was. But that’s a big par putt coming up. In it goes! What an up and down! He stays at -8.
Rose sends a perfect drive down 14, but gets a flyer with his second, and it bounds over the back of the green. He’s in the thick stuff, with not much green to play with. That’ll be one hell of a chip back up from there. He’ll desperately need to get up and down, with Matsuyama having opened up his three-shot advantage.
Matsuyama sends his drive at 18 into Sandy Lyle’s Bunker. Much will depend on how close to the lip that’s ended up. Meanwhile back on 15, a huge break for Spieth, who slams his approach into the bank on the far side of the water ... but instead of his ball gripping and rolling back into the briny, it takes a bound forward instead and stops on the green. He’ll have a look at eagle from 20 feet; he’d have snatched your hand off for a par when that iron was dropping from the sky.
Matsuyama’s birdie putt on 17 is always destined to drop, bang slap in the middle of the cup, and he’s easing clear of the field. He’s picked up four shots in the last three holes!
-11: Matsuyama (17)
-8: Rose (13)
-7: Schauffele (17)
-6: Conners (F), Leishman (14), Zalatoris (13)
-5: Spieth (14)
Par for Rose on 13, and he looks slightly disappointed, though that’s all put into perspective when his partner Zalatoris makes a three-putt bogey. Up on 17, Schauffele tugs his second shot into a swale to the side of the green, and looks to have overcooked his bump up. But the ball smacks the flag and stops by the side of the hole, and he tidies up for a par that’s very much worth the guffaw of relief he emits.
As the rain begins to come down again - though there’s no fear of thunderstorms right now - Corey Conners gets a bad break on 18. A fine approach looks destined to stop five feet or so from the flag, but twangs the stick and rebounds 15 feet away. Happily, he’s punished no further, and two putts later he’s signing for an excellent 68 that included a hole-in-one on 6. He’s -6 and in good shape for a tilt at the title tomorrow ... unless Hideki Matsuyama disappears out of sight, because the leader’s just set up another birdie chance, sending his second over the flag at 17 to ten feet.
Bryson DeChambeau signs for 75, his second disappointing round of the week after that opening-day 76. He sandwiched them both with that marvellous 67, though. Maybe next year, and it’ll be interesting to see what he does tomorrow with the pressure - and presumably the handbrake - off. He’s +2.
While Matsuyama was bothering the flagstick with his tee shot on 16, Schauffele sent a very average iron into the green. Then he left his long birdie putt ten feet short. But he’s in no mood to take a step backwards after his eagle, and rolls in a staunch par saver. Then Matsuyama rolls in his short birdie putt, and he becomes the first player to make it into double figures this week. What a run he’s gone on since the restart: birdie, birdie, par, par, eagle, birdie!
-10: Matsuyama (16)
-8: Rose (12)
-7: Schauffele (16), Zalatoris (12)
That 75-minute weather delay was so irritating at the time. But god bless the rain that came down, making this course more receptive, and the players a damn sight more aggressive! Worth the wait, huh?
Matsuyama is on fire. A gentle fade into the par-three 16th, and he’ll have a look at birdie from four feet! That’s a delicious shot, and a very satisfying divot flew through the air as well. The lead was -7 just a few minutes ago. Now Matsuyama is four feet away from -10. The unique beauty of the Masters, right here, right now.
What a putt on 15 by Xander Schauffele! He sends a tramliner straight into the cup from 60 feet, and it’s an eagle that gives him a share of the lead ... for about six seconds, because back on 12, Justin Rose snatches it back with a 30-footer for birdie ... but he’s only leading for about 5.9 seconds, as on 15, Schauffele’s playing partner Hideki Matsuyama, having creamed his second from 200 yards to six feet, tidies up for eagle of his own, to leapfrog the pair of them! What a whirlwind of action! What a Masters this is turning into!
-9: Matsuyama (15)
-8: Rose (8)
-7: Schauffele (15), Zalatoris (12)
-6: Conners (17)
-5: Spieth (13), Leishman (12)
Bob MacIntyre signs for a 70. At -2 overall, the young man from Oban is the new 54-hole clubhouse leader on Masters debut. Meanwhile another birdie for Corey Connors on 17, his second in three holes, and this is a great reaction to his stutter after the turn. He’s -6 again.
Thomas can’t make his double-bogey putt on 13, and that’s a triple-bogey eight. Out of absolutely nothing! Two wedges in, both leading to unforced errors, one short, one long. He lost his mental equilibrium and those five minutes may have cost him everything this week. He crashes down to -1.
Rose flays his drive at 11 into the trees down the right. He’s got a route towards the green - remember Tiger, twice, here in 2019 - but sends his second into the bunker to the right of the green. He’s faced with a long downhill bunker shot, shortsided, with water behind. God speed, Justin. So what happens next is quite astonishing: a sand shot flopped high and landed like a feather, rolling to five feet. That’s as good as it gets. What a par save! You’ll not see a better shot, with such high difficulty and danger tariffs, all week!
Thomas hits an awful wedge into 13, the ball dribbling into Rae’s Creek before swimming away from sight, towards the horizon like a little fishy, as the brook babbles downhill. A moment of dark comedy, though JT doesn’t find it funny, and his mood isn’t improved with a heavy handed chip from the drop zone. This is looking like a double bogey at best. Maybe worse, because he leaves his bogey putt 15 feet short! That is an astonishing miss. Thomas’s race could be coming to a premature end here. Meanwhile back-to-back bogeys for Harman, at 10 and 11, and he slips to -3.
Spieth has plenty of history at 12 - that quadruple bogey that cost him a second green jacket in 2016 - and for a minute it looks like there’ll be more scar tissue. He lands his tee shot back left of the green, the ball taking a sharp bounce further left and towards the bank of azaleas. That’s awful luck, though he gets an instant break back when his ball eventually nestles on the cart path. He gets a drop, then grinds out a superb up and down to remain at -5. That could be as valuable as a birdie when it all comes down tomorrow evening.
Yep, Zalatoris looks the more likely! He finds the difficult 10th in two, then steers in a 30-footer for a birdie that gives the debutant a share of the lead! What a player this young man from San Francisco is, but then we knew that already after his ace and tie for sixth at Winged Foot in last year’s US Open. Bounceback birdie meanwhile for Conners at 15, and he’s still right in the thick of it.
-7: Matsuyama (13), Rose (10), Zalatoris (10)
-5: Conners (15), Schauffele (13), Spieth (11), Leishman (10)
Another birdie for the debutant from Oban, Bob MacIntyre! The 24-year-old Scot sends his second at 17 over the flag and makes the 12-footer coming back. He’s -2, suddenly just five off the lead, and if he could just find something on the final hole, you never know tomorrow. The first debutant to win since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979? If that’s to happen, Will Zalatoris looks the more likely, but ... well ... y’know.
Matsuyama tickles his birdie effort towards the cup at 13, but it’s always staying up on the left. Just a par. His partner Xander Schauffele is much bolder with his eagle putt, and though it doesn’t drop, he taps in for a birdie that moves him up to -5. Leishman can’t get up and down from Spieth Country on 10, never mind chip in, and that’s a dropped shot. And a bounceback birdie for JT, who finally makes a putt on 12, moving back up to -4.
-7: Matsuyama (13), Rose (9)
-6: Zalatoris (9)
-5: Schauffele (13), Spieth (10), Leishman (10)
Matsuyama whistles his second at 13 into the meat of the green. He’s got a long downhill eagle putt ... but makes exactly the same mistake as Conners before him, failing to factor in the rain that’s slowed the green. That’s well short and now he faces a testing birdie putt. Meanwhile pars for Rose and Zalatoris on 9, the pair turning with level-par 36s.
Justin Thomas’s putter has gone stone cold. Having found 11 in regulation, he leaves his first putt short, and for the third hole in a row missed a makeable one. Bogey, and he slips to -3, and into a funk.
By the way, do you remember Bryson DeChambeau sending his ball “so far into Narnia” at 13? Well, he found a route out of the trees to the green, then calmly took two putts for a birdie. Of course he did. Then he birdied 14 too. Of course he did. Bryson’s brilliantly entertaining as well; he’s +1, and hanging onto hope by his fingertips.
Jordan Spieth is a magician! Having left his second to 10 short and left, he chips up from 22 yards, the ball always destined to disappear cleanly into the hole after a couple of gentle bounces. He’s back to where he began the day, at -5, and that ludicrous up and down from the nonsense at 8 begins to look pivotal. He’s such a fun player to watch. Meanwhile birdie for Brian Harman at 9, and he rises to -5 as well.
It’s suddenly all going wrong for Conners. Having just three-putted the par five 13th, he sends his drive to the base of a loblolly down the left. He’s forced to turn his iron around and chip sideways, left-handed, back onto the fairway ... but mishits it onto the trunk, and is extremely fortunate that his ball doesn’t spring back and hit him, and that it squirts out towards the fairway, albeit still in the second cut. He calms himself to send his third to the back of the green, where he’ll really need to limit the damage to bogey. Two putts a must.
For Conners on 13, read Rose at 8: eagle dreams dashed by a three-putt par on a par-five. Rose left that first putt well short, just as Conners had done, the rain that continues to fall doing a number on the Englishman. Zalatoris takes two putts for a bounceback birdie, and for the first time in a long while, Rose no longer has sole ownership of the lead.
-7: Matsuyama (12), Rose (8)
-6: Leishman (8), Zalatoris (8)
-5: Conners (13)
Corey Conners finds the par-five 13th in two. Sadly he doesn’t take into consideration the newly moistened greens, and severely underhits his eagle putt. He’s left with an eight footer for birdie, and that one slips by the right of the cup. A miserable par, and though he’s still just a couple off the lead at -5, there would have been dreams of joining Rose in the lead ... and that’s something Matsuyama does by stroking in his birdie effort on 12 with extreme confidence.
Jordan Spieth can’t quite make his birdie putt on 9, the ball dying left on its final turn. A par, and he turns in 37 at -4. Disappointment for his good mate Justin Thomas at 10, as he lets his great birdie chance slip by. His flat stick a bit cold since the restart. He remains at -4 too.
Two big crashes down the middle of the par-five 8th, and Justin Rose and Will Zalatoris are on in two, looking at eagle putts. Up on 12, Hideki Matsuyama clips his tee shot to 12 feet. And back on 10, JT screeches his second from 150 yards to five feet. Those two irons demonstrating how the conditions have changed, allowing the players to be more aggressive.
Spieth, having made that preposterous birdie at 8, getting up and down from the jungle down the left, sets up another chance. He sends his second at 9 onto the top tier of the green, and he’ll have a good look at birdie from 15 feet. Meanwhile up on 11, Matsuyama converts his birdie putt, while Leishman gets up and down from the front of 8 to pick up a shot. Suddenly it’s all change at the top! Again!
-7: Rose (7)
-6: Matsuyama (11), Leishman (8)
-5: Conners (12), Zalatoris (7)
Two putts for Rose on 7 and he makes his par. Sadly for Zalatoris, the difficult bunker shot he faced in starting again landed short and span back, and he wasn’t able to make the par saver. His sole ownership of second turns into a share.
-7: Rose (7)
-5: Conners (12), Matsuyama (10), Leishman (7), Zalatoris (7)
-4: Schauffele (10), Thomas (9), Spieth (8), Wiesberger (8), Harman (7)
Not such a cold start for Matsuyama, though! Under hanging branches down the right of 11, he fires low and hard into the heart of the green. His ball holds, an early sign that the course will indeed be a little more receptive ... and that we could see a few birdies again. They were at a premium when the wind was up before the weather warning.
Before anything happens there, Justin Thomas is forced to restart with a tricky left-to-right slider up 9 for par. He can’t make it, and having started with a couple of early birdies, he’s given both shots back in short order. He’s -4.
The klaxon sounds, and we’re off again! The final group are at the 7th green. More accurately, Will Zalatoris is in a bunker to the right, while Justin Rose is in the heart of the putting surface. Let’s go!
The players are making their way back into position. It’s still raining at Augusta, but everyone’s been told that there’s no more worry of electrical activity, so we’re just battling the clock. Sunset in Georgia will be just before 8pm local time, 1pm BST. Given we’ve lost 75 minutes of play, finishing the third round tonight will be a very tight squeeze. Here’s hoping, for a multitude of reasons, though I’m not sure they’ll do it.
Great news! Play is scheduled to resume at 5.15pm local time, 10.15pm BST. The players are streaming back to the practice area to warm up. So while they’ll be cutting it fine to finish the third round tonight, there’s at least half a chance. The players would certainly prefer not to leave anything hanging until tomorrow morning, so they may pick up the pace a little, especially as the course has taken on a little moisture and will be slightly more responsive than before.
The minute there’s any word of a restart, we’ll post the news up here. So keep hitting that refresh button. You get the breaking news as it happens, we get the cheap hits. Everybody happy! Meanwhile, some intermission music for y’all.
The talk is of a delay lasting 45 minutes to an hour. If that turns out to be correct, we might be OK to finish the third round tonight ... though we’d be cutting it fine. Anything more than an hour, and most likely a few matches will have to come back early tomorrow morning and finish up. Fingers crossed ... though given this storm was forecast with a 60 percent probability last night, you have to wonder why they didn’t get the groups out a little earlier this morning in order to give themselves a little slack. Anyway, here we are.
Anyway, with everyone off to take shelter - and the leader Rose safely on the 7th green in two, while Zalatoris finds himself in a bunker to the right - this is how the top of the leader board looks ...
-7: Rose (6)
-6: Zalatoris (6)
-5: Conners (12), Matsuyama (10), Thomas (8), Leishman (7)
-4: Schauffele (10), Spieth (8), Wiesberger (8), Harman (7)
-3: Kim (9), Finau (8)
-2:Jones (12), Champ (9)
-1: Reed (F), Na (F), Stenson (16), Lowry (14), Hughes (14), MacIntyre (14), Cink (13), Palmer (11)
E: Mickelson (F), Molinari (F), Simpson (F), Niemann (F), Scheffler (F), Rahm (F), Hovland (13)
That weather warning came out of nowhere. The satellite pictures suggest a lot of rain may be on the cards, but hopefully not a great deal in the way of electrical excitement ... and there doesn’t appear to be anything looming behind it. So fingers crossed that it’ll pass through quickly. Given the increasing difficulty of the course as the wind got up, you’d imagine plenty of the players will welcome a good drenching to slow the greens down a bit.
Up on 8, Spieth, badly out of position down the left of the hole, manufactures an absurd escape from the bushes, using the bank behind the cup to bring his ball to four feet. A sensational birdie ... and not a bad way to go into an enforced weather break. Storm’s a-comin’ through, and the klaxon goes.
Bob MacIntyre, the latest great Scottish hope, looks the real deal. He’s making his Masters debut and showing the sort of moxie he’ll need to succeed around here one day. A lovely long iron into 14, using the camber at the back to bring the ball back towards the hole, sets up birdie. He’s-1.
It’s getting tough out there. A staunch up and down from the bottom of the bank at the front of 10 saves Hideki Matsuyama’s par, but Marc Leishman can’t make a sand save from a deep bunker at 7. Both folks are -5.
“That’s so far into Narnia!” DeChambeau, working a few things out after his double at 12, blooters his drive at 13 into a gaggle of patrons down the right. That might be in Mickelson Country, the pine straw from which Lefty stuck a dagger through Lee Westwood’s heart in 2010. Or it could be even wilder. Either way, the next shot is likely to be entertaining.
A decent two-putt par from the front of 6 settles the good ship Rose. He remains at -7, one ahead of Zalatoris, who also pars. Meanwhile Thomas misses two highly decent birdie putts in a row, on 7 and now 8, and exits the green in a minor funk.
DeChambeau ends up with a double on 12. He’s back to +3, and any slim hopes of a sensational comeback must surely be kaput. Mind you, the breeze continues to pick up, and the leading pack, with many more holes to play this afternoon, won’t fancy these conditions at all.
Yep, Augusta is beginning to act up. DeChambeau chunks his tee shot at 12 into Rae’s Creek, the latest superstar to come a cropper at this most treacherous of short par-threes. He’d been busy repairing his round with birdies at 8 and 11, but there goes that momentum! He’s +1 right now but not for very much longer. Meanwhile back on 7, Spieth gets a flyer approaching the green, and sends his ball over the patrons at the back. His delicate chip dunks in the sand, and the splash out runs 20 feet past. He doesn’t hit his bogey putt and, chasing after it immediately in the style of Kevin Na, nearly taps his moving ball. Fortunately he catches himself just in time, waits, and tidies up for double. He’s -3, and a wee bit hot under the collar, uncharacteristically so.
Another bogey for Rose, who splashes gently out of the bunker at the back of 5, yet still faces a 15-footer coming back. He can’t make it. A two-putt par for Zalatoris.
-7: Rose (5)
-6: Leishman (6), Zalatoris (5)
-5: Conners (10), Matsuyama (9), Thomas (7), Spieth (6)
Some bad luck for Conners on 10. He lands his approach pin high, but the ball topples slowly back off the false front, and he can only chip back up to nine feet. The downhill tickler stays up, and that’s a bogey that drops him to -5.
Some more bother for Rose, whose second into 5 bounds through the green and into the sand at the back. He shakes his head sadly. His partner Zalatoris finds the centre of the green in regulation. There’s an air of the young Bernhard Langers about Zalatoris, and he’s got the calm, controlled game to match.
For the record, the current clubhouse leader is the 2018 champion Patrick Reed. He shot a commendable 70 today, though he’ll be irritated after missing a short par putt on the last. Even so, he’s in at -1. That’s almost certainly too far back, unless conditions worsen to the point of carnage this afternoon, and/or the same dynamic applies tomorrow. A lot of ifs for Reed there, to be fair.
Two poor tee shots from Rose and Zalatoris at the par-three 4th, and suddenly the leaders come back towards the chasing pack. As the wind picks up a little, and the greens dry out, becoming less responsive, it’s notable that the early blitz of birdies has calmed somewhat. A sense that Augusta is preparing to bear its teeth.
-8: Rose (4)
-6: Conners (9), Leishman (4), Zalatoris (4)
-5: Matsuyama (8), Thomas (6), Spieth (5)
Bernd Wiesberger traverses the par-four 6th like the Keystone Kops in a Ford Model T. His drive finds the trees on the right, necessitating a hack-out. His third flies into more bushes down the same side of the hole. His fourth is a chip that flies through the green and down a swale on the other side. His fifth is a hysterical lob that would have bounded through the green again had it not twanged the flagstick. And his sixth? A 20-foot drain for double bogey. He’s so lucky to have limited the damage to just two shots there, but nevertheless he crashes down the leaderboard to -3.
Connors sends his birdie putt across 9 dead on line, but gives it a little too much juice, and it lips out on the left. Still, that’s a par, and he’s turning in 32, three of the lead at -6. Brian Harman heads in the wrong direction, though, with bogeys at 3 and 4; he’s suddenly toppled down to -4. Yet another illustration of how easy it is to quickly fall off the pace at the Masters.
Kim’s putter will live to see another hole at least, as the young Korean rolls in a left-to-right curler on 6. He returns to -3. Thomas slips back to -5 after a 15-footer refuses to drop on 5. Matsuyama makes his first birdie of the day at 7 to make it to -5. Zalatoris rolls in his first birdie putt, from 12 feet at 3. And it’s two putts for Rose for his par; his lead is now just two.
-9: Rose (3)
-7: Zalatoris (3)
-6: Conners (8), Leishman (3)
Bogey for Spieth at 4, the result of finding the sand guarding the front right of the par-three, and a splash that went 15 feet past. He slips back to -5. Back on 3, Rose sets up another birdie opportunity, albeit a slippery one downhill from 15 feet. And up on 9, Connors sticks his second pin high and will have a good look at birdie. If he makes it, he’ll be turning in 31.
If Justin Rose doesn’t feel excited already, here’s another reason to get the juices flowing: five of the last seven winners at Augusta have either led or jointly led after 36 holes. So statistically, this is looking very good for the 2013 US Open champion ... but of course this is golf, and there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip, especially with a sweaty grip. You can be sure Rose - who has led or co-led seven rounds here, a record for a player never to have won a green jacket - won’t be making any assumptions at all.
It’s a perfect start for the leader Justin Rose. He leaves his second at the 2nd just short of the green, chips up to ten feet, leaving himself a straight uphill putt, and makes birdie number two. His partner Will Zalatoris, who did well to get up and down at 1 after finding trouble from the tee, chips poorly and has to settle for a par-par start. It’s looking good for Hampshire’s finest!
-9: Rose (2)
-6: Conners (7), Thomas (4), Spieth (3), Harman (2), Leishman (2), Zalatoris (2)
-5: Wiesberger (3)
-4: Matsuyama (6), Schauffele (6), Finau (4)
-3: Champ (5)
-2: Reed (17), Jones (8), Kim (5)
Jordan Spieth knocks his second at 3 to five feet, but he’s left with a slippery downhill putt. He prods it as carefully as he can, but it still lips out. A par that will feel like a bogey, if the dismayed look on his face is anything to go by. Meanwhile Brian Harman rights the wrongs of the 1st with birdie at 2, while his playing partner Marc Leishman also birdies. A six-strong group in second place at -6 now.
Bryson DeChambeau did so well to haul himself back into semi-contention yesterday, responding to his miserable opening-day 76 with a fine battling 67. He’s all over the shop again today, though, a heavy-handed chip leading to a double-bogey five on the par-three 4th, bogeys at 5 and 7 following soon after. He’s +3 and Bernhard Langer’s pre-tournament observation that, while power is all good and well, it means absolutely nothing if you don’t know which spots to pick around Augusta ... and more importantly, the best places to miss. Don’t worry, though, Bryson’s got an analytical mind, he’ll surely work it all out soon enough.
Yep, this is going to be quite the ride. Thomas doesn’t go particularly close with his chip into the short par-three 3rd, but he rattles in the 12-footer that remains and he joins his good pal Spieth in a share of second. And in the blink of an eye Conners follows his ace at 6 with a long rake for birdie at 7, and he’s up to -6 as well.
-8: Rose (1)
-6: Conners (7), Thomas (3), Spieth (2), Zalatoris (1)
Rose makes his opening birdie putt! In it goes, and already this is looking like being one of those Moving Days. Strap in, people!
-8: Rose (1)
-6: Spieth (2), Zalatoris (1)
-5: Conners (6), Schauffele (4), Champ (3), Thomas (2), Wiesberger (2), Harman (1), Leishman (1)
-4: Matsuyama (4)
-3: Finau (2)
-2: Kim (3)
Birdie for Xander Schauffele at the par-three 4th. A long iron sent to eight feet, the putt rolled in. He joins an ever-growing group at -5, Cameron Champ making birdie at 3, Bernd Wiesberger picking up a shot at 2, Brian Harman dropping one at the opening hole. Much movement at the top, because Jordan Spieth birdies 2 as well, and moves into second spot, ominously so. Just as well that Justin Rose’s second at 1 finds the heart of the green, and he’ll have a look at birdie from 15 feet to reestablish a two-shot cushion between himself and the 2015 champion.
The final group take to the first tee. The leader Justin Rose crashes his drive down the middle, but Will Zalatoris lets out a curdled yelp as his opening shot whistles into trouble down the right. Rose and the young man from Texas - if only one of them was wearing yellow, we could probably get something going - have both been distinctly average on the front nine this week, and exceptional after the turn. It’ll be interesting to see if either manage to buck that trend today.
That was the first ace on 6 since Jamie Donaldson made one in the first round in 2013, and only the sixth there in the entire history of the Masters! What a moment for Conners, who really has thrown down the gauntlet with today’s fast start. He’s joined at -5 by Justin Thomas, the new Players champion having just picked up a stroke at the par-five 2nd.
-6: Zalatoris, Harman
-5: Conners (6), Thomas (2), Spieth (1), Leishman
An iron straight at the flag. Four bounces, each one smaller than the other, and then his ball rolls serenely into the cup for the second ace of the week! The patrons around him erupt! Conners tied for tenth last November, came third at the Arnold Palmer, then seventh at the Players, and finished strongly at the Texas Open last week. He’s gaining some serious momentum ... and is making a serious bid for the green jacket here. He’s got the game. He’s now -5.
A nice steady opening par for Jordan Spieth. He’s going round today with Bernd Wiesberger, who also pars. They’re -5 and -4 respectively. An eventful bogey-birdie start to Cameron Champ, who has the sort of controlled no-effort long game to do some serious damage around here. He’s -4. And a bogey for Corey Connors on 5 takes the Canadian back to -3, but no matter, because ...
Kim Si-woo has a new putter, after his shaft-bothering antics on 15 yesterday. With great narrative inevitability, he’s just used it to three-putt the 1st; perhaps he should get the trusty 3-wood out again, it did him no harm over the closing four post-tantrum holes yesterday, after all. Or maybe he should start taking putter off the tee, because on 2 he flays his drive into the azaleas down the left, and that’s a bogey-bogey start for the 2017 Players champion. Quick as a flash, he slips down the leader board to -2.
Phil Mickelson was all over the shop on Thursday as he shot 75, and not totally in control yesterday either, grinding out a level-par round of 72. But he’s been uncharacteristically steady today: four birdies, a single bogey, and nine pars in his last ten holes en route to a fine 69. The 50-year-old Californian won’t be breaking Jack Nicklaus’s record as oldest Master - the Golden Bear was 46 when he won in 1986 - but he’s ended the day at level par and yet another decent late-career finish here looks on the cards. In any case, if Lefty’s ever going to write a fiftysomething fairytale, we want him to do it at a US Open, right?
Henrik Stenson hasn’t got the greatest record at Augusta. A tie for fifth in 2018 is the outlier in a smattering of top-20 finishes and a few missed cuts. He didn’t make the weekend back in November, but evaded the cut easily enough this week after rounds of 73 and 71. The 2016 Open champ is trending in the right direction: birdies at 6 and now 8 have hauled the veteran Swede up to -2.
And with that, Tom takes his leave; thanks Tom. Conners looks a decent bet to become only the second Canadian to win the Masters, after Mike Weir’s breakthrough for lefties back in 2003. No better time to whack up the latest leader board, then ...
-6: Zalatoris, Harman
-5: Leishman, Spieth
-4: Conners (4), Matsuyama (1), Wiesberger, Finau, Thomas
-3: Schauffele (1), Kim (1), Champ (1)
Here we go Corey Conners! Nope, me neither. The Canadian finished T10 back in November to earn his spot this year and is now four under through three. He set that up with cracking drive at the par-five second and despite finding sand from the fairway managed a birdie. He could not have played the third much better, holing a 24 foot putt for a birdie three.
Hideki Matsuyama, who tees off just three shots off the lead, is in danger of dropping a shot at the first. His second leaves him short of the green on the fairway but his iron into the green flies the pin and takes perfect spin back to leave him with a putt of no more than five or six feet. Par saved!
Bryson DeChambeau is on the third, a 350 yard par four, but having only found the trees with his tee shot what could be an eagle chance for him looks like a scramble to make par. He has made a nice chip from just off the green though, that should be good enough to make his four... and it is.
No real movement towards the top of the leaderboard so far today, but Stewart Cink is now two under. His putt for birdie at the third was a delightful little tickle down the slope which only just crept in. Well measured sir.
Tommy Fleetwood has been looking good so far today, he is two under through four and now T13. You always get the feeling that he leaves himself with too much to do when he gets to the weekend at the majors, but if continues his early round form that could change. He slapped his drive 280 yards at the par four fifth and worked his second on to the green but he needed a spectacular putt to make a birdie as it checked at the top of the slope. With his putt still well short, that is a bogey for the Englishman. He is now back to to one under.
Hello all, I’m stepping in as relief for an hour - much like a part-time seamer stepping in for the strapping pace bowler after an all-out effort spell. So far today Phil Mickelson has been the hottest player out on the course, he is three under for the day and back to even par. Lefty found himself on the pine needles at the par-four 14th but managed find the back edge of the green and scramble for par. He might not have the game to win any more but Mickelson remains compelling viewing.
With that, I’m off to eat 36 chocolate golf balls and wash them down with a pint of Golf Gin. It’s “botanically rich”, it says here. That means it’s basically isotonic, right? See you again in an hour, just in time for Jordan Spieth. In the meantime, Tom Bassam will be your guide.
Some good slapstick fun involving the new WGC Match Play champion Billy Horschel. He sticks his second at 13 into Rae’s Creek. His ball is almost totally submerged, but he channels his inner Jean van de Velde, taking off his shoes and socks and rolling his trousers up, with a view to wading in. As he descends the bank, he slips on his backside and plays it for laughs, asking partner Phil Mickelson to check if there’s now a green stain on the seat of his previously pristine white breeks. The gallery enjoy the back and forth, and also love it when he literally splashes out to 15 feet and saves his rather soggy par. He remains at +5, but Mickelson birdies and moves to level par.
Speaking of players who like to blow off some steam every now and then, it’s been a fairly eventful start to the third round for Tyrrell Hatton. The 29-year-old Englishman has been sniffing around the majors for a while now, with a couple of top-ten finishes at the PGA, a tie for sixth at the US Open, and two top-six finishes at the Open already on his CV. He’s not done much around here, though, something he admitted with a smile during a Sky interview earlier in the week, and today’s opening four holes - bogey, bogey, birdie, bogey - don’t suggest a change in his Masters fortunes any time soon. He slips to +3, but at least his beloved Liverpool beat Aston Villa in injury time earlier today, so the day’s not a total write-off.
It feels like we’re contractually obliged to refer to Jon Rahm as New Dad Jon Rahm this week. To be fair, it’s worth pointing out, partly because he was the last player to get here this week, his wife Kelley having only given birth to little Kepa last Sunday evening, but mainly because he’s been floating around Augusta, half knackered, half blissed-out. Two average level-par 72s would usually have the emotional Spaniard on edge, ready to blow, but not this week, and birdie at 3, bogey at 4, have been met today with an insouciant shrug. Incidentally, despite little Kepa sharing his monicker with Senor Arrizabalaga, who formerly played for Rahm’s favourites Athletic Bilbao, he’s not been named after Chelsea’s second-choice keeper. “When we were going through Basque names because Kelley agreed to honour my heritage that way, we just had to find one that she could pronounce and that’s the one we came up with that she really liked,” he told the Golf Channel earlier this week.
It was an ugly start for Harris English, who pulled his opening drive into the trees down the left of 1, then sent his second down the swale to the right of the green, antics that led to a double bogey. Another dropped shot at 4 was followed by another double, and his second three-putt of the day. It’s been a good season so far for the 31-year-old local lad, with a fourth-place finish at the US Open and his first Tour win for seven years, but this week’s won’t become another high point. He’s +6 overall, in a tie for 53rd with Adam Scott, right at the bottom of the leader board.
Kevin Na isn’t usually noted for his speed of movement, but he’s out of the blocks quickly today. Birdies at 2 and 3 and he move to -1 as well. Completing our trio of early starters moving under par for the week: Webb Simpson, who follows birdies at 2 and 6 with another at the par-five 8th. He’ll be cursing his 76 yesterday, dropping six shots in eight holes during a mid-round slump. Without that bump in the road, the 2012 US Open champ would be right up there.
OK, let’s get back to the present day, and three of the early starters have made the first burst into red figures for the week. First up, a birdie-birdie start for Martin Laird, who is here for the first time since 2013 after winning the Shriners last October. The 38-year-old Scot moves to -1 as he hopes to match his Masters best, a tie for 20th on debut in 2011, at the very least.
So what were we doing on this Saturday last year? Hunkering down during the first lockdown, that’s what. With the Masters postponed until November, we had to make our own entertainment. You youngsters today don’t know you’re born! Anyway, it was a different sort of moving day, as we recalled the tear-jerking final round of 1996, when Greg Norman found yet another way to blow his dream. Relive it again with our Retro As It Happened blog. Perhaps, 25 years on, Marc Leishman will mark the anniversary by making amends for Australia tomorrow?
... and here’s a reminder of the top of the leader board.
-6: Zalatoris, Harman
-5: Leishman, Spieth
-4: Wiesberger, Finau, Thomas, Kim, Champ, Matsuyama
It’s all been rather genteel so far. Time for some admin, then. Here are today’s hole locations ...
The two-time winner Jose Maria Olazabal shot a fine under-the-radar 71 yesterday. At 59, he’s the oldest swinger left standing this week, and today he’s showing some of the nous that led him to glory in 1994 and 1999. Birdie at 2, followed by some lovely soft hands in the sand at the par-three 4th to scramble a par despite being shortsided. He’s +1 for the week.
It’s been a poor start to the round by the 2013 champion Adam Scott. Bogeys at 4 and 5, then a complete mess at 7, finding trees down the right, necessitating a chip-out, then the deep bunker at the front of the green. A double, and though he’s repaired a little of the damage with birdie at the par-five 8th, he’s currently three over for his round and propping up the entire leader board at +6, 54th in a field of 54.
There’s been no early birdie blitz, even though conditions are not wholly dissimilar to yesterday’s. There were 100 more birdies on Friday than had been made on Thursday, so perhaps that’s something of a surprise. But here’s one by Webb Simpson, who very nearly aces 6 and taps in to move to level par. With the exception of the aforementioned Sebastian Munoz, the 2012 US Open champ is the only man out there so far who’s two under for his round.
There are few better wedge players in the field than the 2018 champion Patrick Reed, who ... ah, his bump up onto the 3rd green isn’t one of his best, actually, only just squeaking onto the putting surface. But there’s no need to fret, because he steers in the 12-footer he’s left with and the birdie brings him up to level par. There’s a player who, if he could string together a score when the weather remains benign, would worry a few of the chaps further up the leader board, as he suddenly pops up in their rear-view mirror.
An opening birdie for Charl Schwartzel, who knocks his second from 170 yards to 15 feet, strokes in the putt, and immediately rises to level par. Speaking of the 2011 champ, here’s James Ferguson: “I just reread the excellent 2011 Masters commentary and felt all over again the rush of mad excitement from that year’s final round. Meanwhile, here are my Bob Dylan Masters contributions: Up To Me (for Larry in 1987); Every Grain of Sand(y Lyle) (1988); Tangled Up In Blue (for Rory in 2011); Forever Young (for Seve, who would have turned 64 yesterday).”
So having just posted all that, Niemann bogeys 4 to slip back to +1 ... while his playing partner Herman is befuddled by the false front at the par-three, requiring two chips to get up onto the dancefloor. A double, and he’s back to where he started the day: +2.
Herman is going round with Joaquin Niemann this morning. The 22-year-old Chilean, making his professional debut at Augusta, was both dark horse and hipster’s choice going into the week on account of some solid performances on Tour this season, though his opening round of 75 put paid to any serious hopes of a shock win. He’s started well today, though, matching Herman’s birdies at 2 and 3, and joining him at level par.
Jim Herman is here this week thanks to his win at last autumn’s Wyndham Championship, formerly the Greater Greensboro Open (which in turn used to be played the week before the Masters, Sandy Lyle winning both back-to-back in 1988 ... but let’s not go too far off piste). Anyway, what Herman would give to replicate his weekend form when winning that one: 61-63. Safe to say that Augusta National is significantly more tricky than Sedgefield CC ... but you wouldn’t think so on the very early evidence today, as he birdies 2 and 3 to quickly move up to level par for the week.
Having mentioned Gary Player, it would be remiss of us not to flag up today’s column by Andy Bull ...
A poor day yesterday for Christiaan Bezuidenhout, hoping to become the fourth South African to win at Augusta after Gary Player, Trevor Immelman and Charl Schwartzel. An opening round of 70 was followed by a dismal 76, and he only just scraped under the cut line. But a birdie at 2, made despite flaying his tee shot into the pines down the left, brings him back up to +1 early doors today.
Another birdie for Lefty, who nearly drives the par-four 4th. His ball topples back down the false front of the green, but no matter, because he chips up to five feet and tidies up to move to +1. Some early signs that Augusta National will give up some shots today, at least until the wind picks up as expected, making things a little harder for the leaders.
Sebastian Munoz continues to trend in the right direction, though. He follows birdie at 2 by sinking a 30-footer for another at the short par-four 3rd to move to +1. In other news, I knew I was asking for trouble by referencing CBS recording artiste Bob Dylan earlier on. “You only have yourself to blame for mentioning His Bobness,” begins Richard Hirst. “So how about, for starters: Blowin’ in the Wind (I hit it straight, honest); Watching the River Flow (from Rae’s Creek); Positively Fourth Shot; and, especially for Phil Mickelson, Like a Rolling Ball. Many other titles are available.”
Can I play? How about Bringing It All Back Home (In 32 Strokes), Fairway 61 Revisited, or John Wesley Harding Park?
Poults hands the shot back at 4, the result of pulling his tee shot at the long par-three. He’s back to +3. Meanwhile here’s Simon McMahon: “I can’t help but feel that a lot of sporting venues are missing a trick by failing to have a signature dish like the pimento cheese sandwiches at the Masters (I have all the ingredients ready to go, by the way). Strawberries and cream at Wimbledon spring to mind, as does the lukewarm greasy pie and boiling hot Bovril at most Scottish football grounds, but I think the marketing men / official food partners need to get their act together. The pimento cheese pie could catch on in Scotland.” Pimento cheese fever needs to sweep the UK immediately, if not sooner, in my humble opinion. Calling all British entrepreneurs! Be about your business.
A smattering of early birdies made by the early starters. First up, and the best of this particular bunch, is Ian Poulter’s birdie at 2, made despite whistling his drive deep into the woods down the right. His playing partner in the first pairing of the day, Paul Casey, makes one at 3. Coming behind, Phil Mickelson birdies opening-hole Tea Olive, while Sebastian Munoz picks up a shot at the par-five 2nd in the garden-variety, no-nonsense, straight-down-the-middle style. All four players move to +2.
A long day stretches out ahead of us, and growing golf fans need their energy. Pimento cheese sandwiches all round, then.
Good morning, patrons. There’s only one way to ease ourselves into the third round. Crank it up!
It’s Moving Day at the 2021 Masters. The leader Justin Rose, who suffered yesterday before salvaging a level-par 72, will be hoping to channel his Thursday self, when he shot a marvellous 65. Pretty much everyone else in the chasing pack, with the possible exceptions of Tyrrell Hatton and Patrick Reed, will be hoping to repeat yesterday’s performances.
The early starters could have an advantage, with winds set to pick up later in the day. There’s also the threat of rain, which would at least soften the course, and thunder, which would take everyone off it. But the forecasts haven’t been totally accurate so far this week – predicted rain didn’t materialise yesterday, for example – so fingers crossed.Continue reading...
Player invited Lee Elder to play in South Africa and was praised by Nelson Mandela but admits his past is not blameless
It has been almost 50 years since Lee Elder became the first black man to play in the Masters, and five months since Augusta National announced they were at last going to mark his achievement by inviting him to join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as one of the tournament’s honorary starters.
So long that when the moment finally came around early on Thursday morning, Elder, who is 86, wasn’t able to get up and swing a club. Instead he sat and watched as Player and Nicklaus did. It was a poignant moment, despite the way Player’s son (and caddie) Wayne, hovered over Elder’s shoulder cradling a branded box of golf balls, like a model on the shopping channel.Continue reading...
- Officials have said drugs and alcohol not a factor in accident
- Golfer underwent surgery on multiple fractures of right leg
- Woods unable to remember driving on day of crash, police say
Tiger Woods wasn’t sure where he was when a sheriff’s deputy interviewed him after his one-car crash in February, according to a 22-page report obtained by USA Today.
Woods was in Los Angeles for the Genesis Invitational and promotional appearances but told the deputy that he thought he was in Florida, where he makes his permanent residence.Continue reading...