AUGUSTA: Top-ranked defending champion Dustin Johnson has more time to prepare for next week’s US Professional Golfers’ Association Heritage Classic than he really wanted after missing the cut at the 85th Masters.
Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy also failed to reach the weekend for only the second time in 13 trips to Augusta National, missing his chance to complete a career Grand Slam for another year.
And four-time major champion Brooks Koepka, who battled to play after right knee surgery a month ago, wasn’t among the 54 who reached the weekend at the year’s first major championship.
“I worked my ass off just to get here, and then, to play like this is pretty disappointing,” Koepka said.
Johnson and Koepka each cited putting woes as their reason for being done although Koepka will get weekend physical therapy, and Johnson must put the green jacket on the shoulders of the new Masters champion in a Sunday ceremony.
“Mostly just the putter; six three-putts in two rounds, you just can’t do that,” Johnson said. “Didn’t drive it great, but drove it good enough, and I felt like I never was really too bad out of position. Just the three-putts killed me.”
Koepka and Johnson both shot 75 to finish on five-over 149 while McIlroy, who did not speak after, was on 150 after a closing 74.
McIlroy has been reworking his swing with coach Pete Cowen and said he was very much still in a transition process.
“Any time you’re working on things with your swing, it’s going to feel very different, but it’s not as if I haven’t done these things before,” McIlroy said.
“It’s like you get into these bad habits, and that feels normal. And then, you get it back into position where I’ve been a million times before, and it just feels a little different.”