He finished five strokes ahead of the Australian golfer Cameron Smith, who became the first player in the 84-year history of the Masters to post four rounds in the 60s.
Johnson is chasing Masters low score record.
With a birdie at No. 15, his sixth of the round, Dustin Johnson became the first player to reach 20-under in Masters history. In 2015, Jordan Spieth got to 19-under before settling for a 72-hole total of 18-under 270 to match Tiger Woods’s winning total in 1997.
It appears that Johnson took to heart Bryson DeChambeau’s pretournament proclamation that par at Augusta National was, for him, anyway, a 67.
After his round, Woods, the defending champion who will help the 2020 winner into the green jacket, said of Johnson, “D.J. has just an amazing ability to stay calm in tough moments, and in order to win this event, and we all know as past champions how hard it is, the emotions we have to deal with out there. There’s no one more suited to that, I think, than DJ.”
After Masters low-am score, Ogletree prepares to turn pro.
Andy Ogletree, the 2019 United States Amateur champion from Georgia Tech, closed with a 72 for a 72-hole total of even-par 288 to win low amateur honors.
Ogletree, 22, finished two strokes better than Vanderbilt’s John Augenstein, whom he vanquished in the U.S. Amateur final.
Ogletree played the first two rounds with his childhood idol, the defending champion, Tiger Woods, who claimed low amateur honors 25 years ago.
Ogletree was two over par early in his second round and in danger of missing the cut before he turned his week around.
“So kind of everything you’d want to do as an amateur, I’ve kind of accomplished,” Ogletree said. “This is a great bonus to my resume, I guess I could say.”
For Ogletree, who plans to turn pro soon, the highlight of his week wasn’t the end but the beginning. “Before I teed off, he kind of came up and embraced me and said, ‘Let’s go do this thing,’” Ogletree said, referring to Woods. “I think that’s one thing I’ll never forget.”
He added, “He’s not as dominant as he used to be, but he’s still one of the greatest to ever play, and he still hits some shots that you’re like, ‘Wow, I get it now.’ So it was awesome.”
Tiger Woods’s Masters ends much differently than in 2019.
Woods’s final round in 2019 was one of the sport’s most powerful moments, with chill-inducing reactions from the gallery at Augusta National as he made the walk to 18 and subsequently sealed his fifth Masters win.
This year, with no spectators in attendance, Woods strode to the final tee box in quiet, with a smattering of applause in appreciation for his performance. After recording a disastrous 10 on the 12th hole, Woods rebounded to birdie five of his final six holes. He shot a 76 on the day and finished at 1-under for the tournament.
Woods, the reigning champion, will prepare to award the green jacket to this year’s winner in an updated ceremony. Fred S. Ridley, Augusta National’s chairman, said that people watching from home would see more of Butler Cabin, the site of the jacket presentation, than normal because Woods others will be spaced farther apart there in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
Dustin Johnson and his caddie brother, Austin, share a bond.
Dustin Johnson’s brother, Austin, has been on his bag since 2013. Their collaboration began as a lark, with Dustin hiring his brother for tournaments in Australia and China in the fall so his regular caddie, Bobby Brown, could be at home for the birth of his child.
Austin was considering a career in pharmaceutical sales at the time, but those plans went by the wayside after Dustin won the World Golf Championships event in Shanghai, his second tournament with Austin on the bag.
“I figured he could handle carrying the bag and stepping off numbers and stuff,” Dustin told The New York Times in 2017. “It’s not rocket science. You know, it’s just golf, at the end of the day.”
Why has their collaboration endured?
“The biggest thing about being a caddie is knowing your player, knowing what to say to them, what not to say or when to leave them alone and not say anything,” Dustin Johnson said. “No one knows me better than my brother.”
The brothers Johnson are known for being chill in the crucible of competition.
Bernhard Langer finishes at 3-under.
Two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer may have played much of his best golf during the Reagan administration, but at 63 years old, the oldest man to make the cut at the Masters acquitted himself well in his final round.
Langer averaged 250 yards off the tee playing alongside aggressive driver Bryson DeChambeau on Sunday. He finished at 3-under, tied for 31st.
Langer is one of the standard-setters for younger golfers who wonder what their careers might look like in a decade or two or three. On Thursday, Tiger Woods mentioned Langer as one of the game’s elders who can still find ways to stay in the mix at Augusta National.
“So understanding how to play it is a big factor, and it’s one of the reasons why early in my career that I saw Jack contending a lot, I saw Raymond contending late in his career, now Bernhard and Freddy always contend here late in their careers,” Woods said. “Just understanding how to play this golf course was a big part of it.”
Cameron Smith is on Johnson’s heels.
Tiger Woods is fond of saying you have to have a little good fortune to win a major, and Cameron Smith got his stroke of luck on the par-4 ninth. Hitting his second shot out of the pine straw, Smith watched as his ball landed on a mound in front of a greenside bunker and bounced onto the green and rolled inside five feet of the hole. Smith made the birdie putt to get to 15-under and stay within striking range of Johnson, two strokes back.
The green jacket ceremony will be 2020-ified.
Not too long from now, someone is going to be presented with one of the green jackets that Augusta National has offered members since 1937 and Masters winners every year since 1949 (and, as we wrote this week, that anyone — including you! — can sometimes buy on the auction block).
The green jacket ceremony, as usual, will be in Butler Cabin. But Fred S. Ridley, Augusta National’s chairman, said that people watching from home would see more of the room than normal because participants, including Tiger Woods, the reigning champion, will be spaced farther apart in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
“We will have the same people in the cabin with the same basic ceremony, but I think we can do it appropriately,” Ridley said.
One typical part of the Sunday festivities, though, will not happen: There will not be a ceremony on the 18th green, mostly, Ridley said, because that event is primarily designed for spectators who are attending the tournament.
Augusta National’s back nine should decide the Masters winner.
When people say the Masters begins on the back nine Sunday, what they mean is the stretch of holes from No. 12 to No. 16, which include the two par-5s on the second nine (No. 13 and No. 15) and the wicked water-protected par-3 12th. The leader, Dustin Johnson, played those holes in 5-under during the first three rounds. His nearest challenger, Cameron Smith, who pulled to within two of Johnson through nine holes, has played them in 7-under.
“The back nine has been kind to me all week,” Smith said Saturday night, “so hopefully it can be kind to me one more day.”
Tiger Woods has nightmare on No. 12.
Tiger Woods, already 12 strokes off the lead, registered a score of 10 on the devilish par-3 12th hole. It was on the same hole that Woods made a pivotal par that jump-started his run to the 2019 Masters title.
But Sunday, Woods’s tee shot landed on the bank in front of the green and trickled back into Rae’s Creek. After a drop, his third shot also found the water. His fifth shot sailed over the green into a bunker and his wedge from the sand skipped over the green and back into the water yet again. Another chip landed on the green and then he took two putts to hole out. In 89 previous times playing the hole at the Masters, he made worse than bogey three times.
It was the highest score on a hole for Woods in his PGA Tour career and moved him from 3-under to 4-over for the tournament. He birdied the par-5 13th.
Tiger Woods’s final Masters round is lonelier than in 2019.
Before his blowup at the 12th hole, just past 11 a.m., Tiger Woods trudged alone up the eighth fairway, solemnly dragging his driver in his right hand behind him. The group headlined by tournament leader Dustin Johnson had just passed Woods on the adjacent second hole with an attendant gallery of at least 150 people. Nineteen months ago, thousands cheered Woods’s every move on the way to a seismic Masters upset victory; his following on Sunday numbered exactly 12.
Finding his ball in a fairway bunker, he expertly advanced it forward with an iron but winced as he struggled to ascend the bunker’s steep face, more evidence of the difficulty Woods has been having with his surgically repaired back on his fourth consecutive day of the highest level of golf competition.
Woods, who was 12 strokes off the lead at the time, turned with a glance toward the Johnson group, which moved on to the third tee as scores of onlookers scurried to keep up. Unaccompanied in the eighth fairway, Woods marched on, his reign as the defending Masters title set to expire in a few hours.
Rory McIlroy is making his run.
Watch out for Rory McIlroy, who was 10 off the lead after a five-bogey first round 75. McIlroy has had only one bogey since, on the 13th hole in his third round, and is six off the lead. He is trying to match Craig Stadler, who won the 1983 Masters after opening with a 75.
McIlroy birdied the 8th hole for the fourth straight round to bring him to 11-under and into a tie for fourth behind leader Dustin Johnson, who sits at 16-under on No. 7.
His resilience at Augusta National may stem from his inner circle, whom he spent much of the past year enhancing his connection to. He and his wife, Erica Stoll, welcomed their first child this August, an event McIlroy said altered his perspective.
“I grew up as an only child and an only child playing golf,” McIlroy said, “so I feel like the whole world revolved around me for a long time. And now it doesn’t. It revolves around this little person.”
Long seen as Tiger Woods’s heir apparent, McIlroy, 31, collected four major titles before his 26th birthday. A victory at the Masters, the only major tournament that has eluded him, would give him a career Grand Slam. Anything less would extend his winless streak in the majors to six years
DeChambeau and Langer are Masters’ odd couple.
One of Sunday’s most intriguing groups has nothing to do with who might win or lose the Masters. But Group 4 includes Bryson DeChambueau, the long-driving United States Open champion, and Bernhard Langer, the two-time Masters victor who this year became the oldest man to make the cut at Augusta National. So to watch a hole or two with them is to see how the game is changing, mostly because DeChambeau leads the field in average driving distance while Langer is dead last.
At about 262 yards, Langer is one of just two players in the 60-man field with average drives falling below 271. But 11 players are averaging drives of more than 300 yards, with DeChambeau’s typically logging in around 326. His nearest competitor on that line is Dylan Frittelli, whose average is about 319 yards.
Some of the gap between Langer, 63, and DeChambeau, 27, is a mathematical matter of age. But it is just as much a matter of style.
“It actually makes me feel older when I play with these young guys and I see how far they hit it and how short I hit it,” Langer said last week. “It makes me feel older, not younger. I like this golf course. I think I know how to get around it, even though I hit very long clubs. But it’s certainly not easy.”
Augusta National, Langer noted, had always been welcoming to long hitters like Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. (So far this tournament, Woods’s drives are coming in at around 284 yards.)
DeChambeau, of course, set out to overpower Augusta National and came in as the favorite ahead of Thursday’s opening round. It hasn’t quite worked out for him — he was 12 shots off the lead late on Sunday morning — and he may have been partly thwarted by the damp course.
“Wet ground and water has always been my nemesis for some reason, just can’t figure it out, whereas some people have no problem with it,” he said on Saturday. “They’re able to hit it and have no issues.”
But he still leads Langer by three strokes.
Im and Smith cut into Johnson’s lead.
After Dustin Johnson missed a 10-foot par putt on the par-3 fourth, he showed as much emotion as he has all week. He knew how important that par save was to maintain his momentum; it would have been hard for Johnson to avoid seeing the nearby scoreboard showing that two players in the group ahead of him, Sungjae Im, a Masters rookie, and Cameron Smith, are 2-under for their rounds, to draw to within two of his lead.
One thing that hasn’t changed in 2020: the Masters purse.
Augusta National will dole out $11.5 million in prize money to professionals playing the tournament, the same sum as last year. The winner will earn nearly $2.1 million (along with a green jacket, lifetime entry into the tournament and an annual invitation for dinner), while the runner-up will be paid more than $1.2 million. Even the tournament’s 50th place player will receive a handsome payout of $28,980.
The Masters purse is among the largest in golf, though the United States Open awarded $12.5 million in prize money, including $2.25 million to the winner, after the tournament in September.
Cameron Champ starts hot.
Masters rookie Cameron Champ birdied his first three holes to vault onto the first page of the leaderboard, but gave those shots back triple bogeying the fourth. At the BMW Championship in August, Champ, who is biracial, wore one black golf shoe and one white one to protest police brutality against Black people after the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The New York Times spoke to him last month about racial injustice and how he views the Masters, with its Old South roots.
As he prepared last month for his Masters debut, Champ saw no reason to hold Augusta National to account for a segregationist history similar to the one endured by his paternal grandfather, who caddied at courses around Houston that wouldn’t allow him to play.
“Growing up, you don’t really learn that stuff until you’re older,” Champ said in an interview last month.
“It’s obviously a super historical tournament and something that obviously still means a lot to me,” he added. “I don’t think it needs to be shunned. I think it just has to do with the times. Now we’re in different times, things have changed.”
Sungjae Im among Masters rookies aiming to win.
As a boy in South Korea, Sungjae Im would stay up through the night in early April. It was the only way he could watch the Masters as it unfolded.
Now it is South Korea that will be staying up for Im, who began Sunday four strokes behind Dustin Johnson at this year’s Masters and in a three-way tie for second.
“I know a lot of people back home are staying up late and not sleeping watching the Masters, watching me perform,” Im said through an interpreter on Saturday. “I want to stay composed again and make sure I finish strong so that I make them happy.”
History suggests it will not be easy. No first-time player at the Masters has won the tournament since 1979, when Fuzzy Zoeller earned his green jacket. But Im, who first played at Augusta National on Monday, said he was comfortable with the course. Peering down the fairway from each tee box, he said, he has been able to visualize his strategy with ease.
“I can see where to hit it and where not to hit it,” he said. “I think that’s why I feel comfortable playing here.”
His group on Sunday includes Johnson and Abraham Ancer, who is also making his Masters debut.
Bryson DeChambeau isn’t totally out of things.
Say what you would like about Bryson DeChambeau, but the man can make a recovery.
A calamitous second round left DeChambeau, the pretournament favorite, exactly at the cut on Saturday morning. He did not wilt: He scored a 69 on Saturday, his best round of the tournament, and edged into a tie for 29th at three under par.
A comeback to win this year’s green jacket is highly improbable — the tournament record after 54 holes, which Jack Burke Jr. set in 1956, is eight strokes — but DeChambeau could still finish with a far more credible showing than it very recently seemed like he might.
DeChambeau started Sunday at the 10th hole with a bogey, but eagled the par-5 No. 13, where he had posted a double bogey in the second round.
The 14th hole is another where DeChambeau has toggled among results this week: birdie, par and bogey. Once he makes it to the third hole, watch to see if has ridded himself of the golfing demons that left him with a triple bogey on Friday and nearly derailed his tournament in its entirety.
Crucial to any success for DeChambeau might be whether his dizziness, which he said began Thursday night, has resolved. He said he had tested negative for coronavirus.
“Every time I’d bend over and come back up, I’d like lose my stance a little bit,” DeChambeau said on Saturday. “So I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve got to go and do some blood work and get checked out and figure out what’s going on for this off-season.”
Fog delayed Sunday’s start
A thick fog cloaked the Augusta region on Sunday morning, prompting a 10-minute delay for all tee times. By the time Rory McIlory, Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood hit their shots on No. 1 just a bit after 9 a.m., conditions were beginning to clear, though the government’s dense fog advisory was not supposed to expire until 11 a.m.
The fog pushed start times back by ten minutes with groupings listed below.
Eventually, forecasters said, Augusta will see a partly sunny day with a high of 80 degrees.
The final round will air on CBS beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern, an earlier than usual Sunday start to accommodate a 3 p.m. finish and green jacket presentation before the televised broadcast gives way to afternoon N.F.L. coverage at 4 p.m.
This year’s big losers? Ticket scalpers.
To reach Augusta National Golf Club from downtown on Sunday morning, you drove past restaurants, retailers and even a church with a sign declaring “THIS IS THE MASTERS HOUSE.”
Absent: ticket scalpers. Ordinarily a staple of Augusta during Masters week, especially closer to Interstate 20, the resellers have no tickets to sell because the club banned patrons, as fans are known in tournament parlance, this year.
“The Masters is really, in my estimation, the biggest ticket in the world,” said James DiZoglio, a ticket broker who estimated that some 40 percent of his business stems from this tournament, golf’s only major held at the same club every year. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event for a lot of people.”
Club officials hope fans will be able to return next year, but they have made no guarantees. And the collapse of the resale market around the Masters is a symptom of bigger issues in the ticketing industry at a time when there are so few live events.
Tiger Woods still feels the weight of past Masters.
Tiger Woods, the defending Masters champion, stunned a dinner of past winners on Tuesday night when he swelled with emotion.
“He said he was on the way to the golf course, and he had to stop because he had tears in his eyes and paused for a little while on the road because a lot of memories were going through his mind very quickly,” Gary Player, a three-time winner at Augusta National, recalled on Thursday.
Jack Nicklaus, who won the Masters six times, shared Player’s assessment: “I’ve never seen Tiger that way. But it was good.”
Woods, who is tied at 20th and entering the final round at five under par, will assuredly need to steel his nerves for Sunday, when he will either tie Nicklaus’s Masters record or present one of Augusta National’s green jackets to someone else. He posted an even-par 72 on Saturday, his highest round of this year’s tournament, and said he had not been thinking about the potential sentiments of Sunday.
“I was focused on trying to get myself in contention going into tomorrow,” said Woods, assigned to play with Shane Lowry, who won the last British Open, and Scottie Scheffler, who is making his Masters debut.
“We’ll see how emotional it’ll be after tomorrow’s round,” Woods said.
Softer greens reward aggressive play.
Augusta National was inundated with rain last week, saturating and slowing the greens, which typically are lightning quick. As a result, players have been able to take aim at the pins on the par-3s. In the first three rounds, Dustin Johnson played the four shortest holes in 4-under. His closest challengers also fared well on them: Sungjae Im (2-under); Abraham Ancer, (4-under); Cameron Smith, (3-under); Dylan Frittelli (even par) and Justin Thomas (2-under).
“With the conditions being soft you can be really aggressive no matter what club you have in your hands,” Johnson said.
Send your news and stories to us email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and WhatsApp: +447747873668.
Before you go...
Democratic norms are being stress-tested all over the world, and the past few years have thrown up all kinds of questions we didn't know needed clarifying – how long is too long for a parliamentary prorogation? How far should politicians be allowed to intervene in court cases? To monitor these issues as closely as we have in the past we need your support, so please consider donating to The Climax News Room.