Golf villain suffers Masters embarrassment
Golf’s hottest rivalry not so long ago has cooled off considerably.
Missing cuts at the Masters will do that.
Neither Bryson DeChambeau nor Brooks Koepka will stick around for the weekend at Augusta National after falling outside the cutline of 4-over 148 on Friday.
Koepka shot back-to-back 75s to finish at 6 over, while DeChambeau and his ailing left wrist posted a jarring 8-over 80 in the second round and his score ballooned to 12-over 156 to send him home early for the first time in six appearances underneath the Georgia pines.
So much for basically ignoring the recommendation that he stay home this time around to allow his wrist some more rest. DeChambeau opted to play even with the wrist at what he said was 80 percent.
When the 28-year-old offered that observation in the run-up to the tournament, he didn’t imagine that number would match his score on Friday, his worst in any major in his career.
The problem wasn’t power. DeChambeau averaged 312.5 yards per drive, third-best in the field of 89.
It’s where those tee shots landed that was the issue.
He hit just 14 of 28 (50%) fairways and 17 of 36 (47 percent) greens. Solid but not spectacular putting wasn’t nearly enough to make up the difference.
Eighteen months ago, DeChambeau caused a stir when he said he considered Augusta National a par 67 because of his prodigious length and the reachable par 5s. He has hit that number just once in 10 chances since and didn’t come close in 2022.
After laboring through a 4 over on Thursday, things got no better overnight. His card on Friday included a double bogey at the par-4 10th that started with a tee shot that sailed into the trees down the left side of the fairway and left him shrieking “Oh no!”
The player who made a trip through Amen Corner while hitting tennis balls and throwing Frisbees with the comedy sports troupe “Dude Perfect” last month looked far more uncomfortable playing it with a golf club in his hands. He bogeyed both the 12th and 13th holes and added another double bogey at the par-4 17th when his approach sailed over the green and bounced off a mound and into trouble.
At least DeChambeau can blame a wrist that’s still iffy. Not so with Koepka.
Six months after easily beating DeChambeau in a made-for-TV event last fall in an attempt to monetize their contempt for each other, Koepke endured another swing in a widely uneven season that now includes a tie for third at the Phoenix Open, a tie for fifth at the Match Play and six missed cuts.
Perhaps just as troubling, Koepka is trending in the wrong direction at the first major of the year. After finishing in the top 12 in three straight appearances from 2018-20 — including a runner-up finish to Tiger Woods in 2019 — Koepka now has missed the cut each of the last two springs.
Koepka’s second round included just one birdie and four bogeys, including miscues at 16 and 18 that cost him a chance to stick around.
DeChambeau and Koepka aren’t the only major champions who fizzled in the cool spring breeze.
Jordan Spieth, the 2015 Masters champion, missed the cut at the event for the first time since making his debut in 2014.
Just as he did in the final round in 2016, Spieth dunked the ball in Rae’s Creek in front of the 12th hole twice on Friday on his way to a triple bogey. Any chance to play on Saturday vanished with a double bogey at the par-4 18th thanks to a wayward tee shot that found a fairway bunker and an approach that hit reverse after landing on the green and rolling back into the fairway.
Spieth shot 4-over 76 on Friday, his worst in 33 rounds at the Masters, and missed the cut by two with a two-day total of 6-over 150.
Xander Schauffele became the only player among the top 10 in the world golf ranking to not advance to the weekend after a 5-over 77 pushed him to 7-over 151, marking just the third time in 19 majors he has missed the cut.
Louis Oosthuizen’s streak of 15 consecutive cuts made at majors, the longest active streak in men’s golf, came to a halt when he withdrew before the second round due to a neck injury a day after opening the tournament with a 4-over 76.
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