Defending champion Dustin Johnson led a high-profile exodus from the 85th Masters after the 36-hole cut fell to three over par at Augusta National. Johnson, the world number one who marched to victory at 20-under here in November, was five more after rounds of 74 and 75.
Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Jason Day, Patrick Cantlay and Im SungjaeIm Sung-jae, who tied for second behind Johnson late last year, suffered the same fate. Though he was destined for a missed cut anyway, Matthew Wolff was disqualified Friday night after signing for a lower score than he had delivered on the 17th hole of his second round.
“Obviously he wanted to be on the weekend,” Johnson said. “I like this golf course. I feel like I play it very well. I just didn’t putt very well. It is quite simple. Six three putts in two rounds, you just can’t do that, ”he continued. “Obviously I didn’t handle it very well, but I handled it well enough, and I felt like I was never that bad out of position, just three putts killed me. If you take off all three putts, I am one less. That was kind of a difference. I just didn’t putt very well. “
Koepka’s scenario can easily be explained by the knee surgery he underwent last month. It’s not that the four-time biggest winner was appeased by extenuating circumstances. “How disappointed do you think I am?” Koepka asked. “I worked hard just to get here and then playing like this is quite disappointing.”
Koepka, who matched Johnson’s score, suggested that he may not play competitively again before the next Major of the year. The PGA USA Championship takes place on Kiawah Island in late May.
“I wouldn’t have played another month if it weren’t this week,” he added. “So I’ll take a long break after this. The way I see it, I have two more days to do rehab that I probably wouldn’t get if I were here, and I’ll prepare for the PGA. “
Garcia missed the cut by one, largely due to a Thursday 76; the 2017 champion signed for 72 in the second round. “I think I played very well,” he said. “It is difficult to know what to say. I felt like the way I played today, I should never have shot more than two or three below par. That should have been my worst score, and somehow, I don’t know why, it just wouldn’t happen. I couldn’t fire one more shot than I did today, the way I played. “
McIlroy, who had not missed an Augusta cut since his second appearance at the 2010 Masters, did not show up for post-round press assignments. The 74 of Friday was two shots better than the one of the first day. Kiawah can provide a respite; McIlroy won the US PGA by eight in 2012.