AUGUSTA, Ga. — This was not the title defense Dustin Johnson had planned. The Masters defending champion failed to secure a Saturday tee time at Augusta National.
Five months after winning the Masters in a record-setting 20-under in November, Johnson missed the cut, shooting 75 on Friday. After an opening-round 74, that left him 5-over, two clear of the cutline and 12 strokes behind leader Justin Rose.
Johnson bogeyed three of his final four holes Friday, including the last two.
“Not very good,’’ he said afterward, blaming his putter for the bad week. “Six three-putts in two rounds, you just can’t do that. The three-putts killed me. Obviously, I wanted to be around for the weekend.’’
Johnson has to stick around because he’ll be putting the green jacket on the next champion on Sunday. He’ll just have a lot more free time than he planned on.
Another one of the big names who won’t play the weekend is Brooks Koepka, who played only three weeks removed from surgery on his right knee. Koepka missed the cut for the first time at the Masters and was ticked off about it.
“How disappointed do you think I am?’’ he said. “I worked my ass off just to get here, and then to play like this is pretty disappointing.’’
Like Johnson, Koepka lamented his putting, saying, “Putter was ice cold, didn’t make any putts.’’
Asked about his knee, he said: “[Thursday] was the first day walking 18, so you’re obviously a little sore and all that stuff. I thought [Friday] … I don’t feel as sore as I did [Thursday], so I feel better.’’
Don’t expect to see Koepka playing for a while now, as he’ll surely rest and rehab the knee for the PGA Championship in May.
“I wouldn’t have been playing for another month if it wasn’t [the Masters] this week,’’ he said. “So, I’ll take a nice long break after this. I’ll get ready for the PGA. I won’t miss it, I know that, but it’s tough to say if I’ll play anything before that.’’