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BOB WEST ON GOLF — DJ may repeat at Masters, record low scores won’t

It is hardly surprising that World No. 1 Dustin Johnson was quickly established as the betting favorite to win the 2021 Masters next April. Nor will it be shocking if Johnson joins Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods as the only players to win the Masters back to back.

An even better bet, however, is that the next player to don a green jacket will not have shot anything close to the record 20-under-par total Johnson posted in his convincing, five-shot victory. Augusta National officials, who must be silently steaming about the way their course was made to look as easy as a weekly tour stop, will not let it happen.

Twenty under is what guys shoot to win tournaments like the Rocket Mortgage Classic, the Safeway Open or the Northern Trust Classic. Nobody shoots 20 under in the Masters. Only Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth had ever gone as low as 18 under in Augusta.

Thirteen under, for Pete’s sake, won the Houston Open the week before the Masters. Nine under was low enough to win Nicklaus’ Memorial Championship. Six under won the US Open. Four under was a winning score in the BMW Classic.

Soft conditions and receptive greens, admittedly, made Augusta National vulnerable. But Johnson, who clearly is the best player in the world at this point in time, twice shot 65. Cameron Smith broke 70 all four rounds, a feat never previously accomplished in the Masters. The low amateur was three under.

It’s fun to watch guys make birdies and eagles, but that happens week in and week out on the PGA Tour. Masters officials love that scenario to unfold on the back nine on Sunday. But not from start of finish, not in a fashion that makes their storied course look totally defenseless.

Mark it down. Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Kopeka or whoever wins the 2021 Masters will be closer to 10 under than 20 under.

Meanwhile, one final thought on the Masters. I don’t think I’ve ever been more impressed with Tiger Woods than the way he rebounded from an embarrassing 10 on the par 3, 12th hole Sunday. Tiger could have clutched his back and headed to the clubhouse or, head down, slogged his way through the rest of the round.

Instead, in an all-time show of character and grit, he closed with five birdies on the final six holes, including the last four in a row. It would have been six straight but his putt at 14 rolled over the lip.

How Tiger finished was what Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich once described as “the heart of a champion.”

 

CHIP SHOTS: Andrew Landry will be looking to finish the 2020 portion of his PGA Tour season on an upbeat note this week at the RSM Classic after a dismal showing in the Masters. The PNG ex stumbled to rounds of 78-82 for a total of 160 to finish tied for the highest score among the 69 players who completed 36 holes.

It was a far cry from what happened on his first trip to Augusta National when Landry carded rounds of 72-73-73-70 in April of 2019 for an even par 288 that tied for 46th. The RSM, in Sea Island, Georgia, will be Landry’s last tourney action until the Tournament of Champions Jan. 7-10 in Hawaii.

The Monday Senior 50 Plus 2 ball at Babe Zaharias saw the team of Ronnie LaSalle, Raymond Darbonne, Roddy Richards and James Trahan tie the foursome of Kenny Robbins, Bob Byerly, Bob Luttrull and Dwayne Benoit at minus 2 on the front.

Minus 5 won the back for the team of Dwayne Morvant, Richard Malone, John House, Dan Flood, and Glynn Knight.

The Super Saturday 2 ball at Zaharias saw the team of Gene Jones, Gary Fontenot, Rufus Reyes and a ghost player win the front with minus 4. On the back, the foursome of Mark Lawson, Larry Johnson, Scott Bryant and Danny Harrington took first with minus 3.

Ed Holley was the medalist with a 72.

In the Friday 2 ball at Zaharias, there was a four-way tie at minus 3 on the front between teams captained by Bobby Wactor, Jim Cady, Mike Brown and Craig Geoffroy. The Hanan team, which included Byerly, Keith Marshall and Benoit took the back with minus 3.

Geoffroy and James Vercher shot the day’s low rounds of 72.

All points count was the format for the Wednesday Zaharias DogFight. Placing first with 30 points was the foursome of Fontenot, Mark Osborne, Larry Reece and Randy Trahan. Second with 29 points was the team of Hanan, Luttrull, Marshall and Richard Menchaca.

Closest to the pin winners were Hanan (No. 2, 9 inches), Osborne (No. 7, 1-4 and No. 15, 1-5) and Holley (No. 12, 7-7). Osborne, a 9 handicap, shot his best ever round of 71.

Anyone looking to do some early Christmas shopping for that golfer in the family might want to check out the Black Friday sale at Babe Zaharias. Everything in the golf shop will be on sale Nov. 27, with up to 50 percent off on select items.

Included in the sale are balls, bags, shoes, shirts, shorts and clubs.

Golf news should be e-mailed to rdwest@usa.net.