If Saturday at the Masters is moving day, Friday is meant to survive.
Like every major golf championship, the field at Augusta National is slimmed down at halftime, and at the 85th edition of the Masters, the criteria used to filter the field were players with a score of +3 or better.
One of those players who didn’t make the cut was defending champion Dustin Johnson, who just five months ago claimed his first green jacket with a record 20-under par.
Despite his status as world No. 1, Johnson was a question mark ahead of Thursday’s opening round as he was coming off three-straight poor results. A first-round 74 didn’t ease those concerns, and on Friday his inconsistent form was on full display through 14 holes: five birdies, five pars, three bogeys and one double to sit even-par.
Still, at 2-over for the tournament, with just four to play including the (relatively) easy par-5 15th, DJ appeared almost a lock to make the +3 cut line, and to survive – particularly after smoking a 350-yard tee ball on the 530-yard 15th. But an aggressive approach from 170 found the water, and from there it was a bogey on one of the easiest holes on the course. He finished par-bogey-bogey and missed the cut by two full shots.
“Obviously, I wanted to be around for the weekend,” said Johnson. “I like this golf course. I feel like I play it very well. I just didn’t putt very good. It’s pretty simple.”
Johnson cited his poor putting for his early exit from Augusta.
“Not very good. Mostly just the putter. Six three-putts in two rounds, you just can’t do that,” said Johnson, who would lose the world No. 1 position if Justin Thomas were to win his maiden green jacket.
“Obviously didn’t drive it great but drove it good enough, and I felt like I even left myself — never was really too bad out of position, just the three-putts killed me. You take all the three-putts away, I’m 1-under. That was kind of the difference. But yeah, I just didn’t putt very well.”
Johnson will head north to his native state of South Carolina for next week’s RBC Heritage.