AUGUSTA, Georgia – Someone will don one of Augusta National Golf Club's green jackets on Sunday as the champion of a Masters tournament hit by the coronavirus pandemic delayed seven months
Dustin Johnson will go into the final round at 16 under par, giving him an impressive four-shot lead. But there's a lot tighter competition just below him on the scoreboard. Abraham Ancer, Sungjae Im and Cameron Smith, all at 12 under par, are tied for second place. Dylan Frittelli is behind them with a shot, just as Justin Thomas Frittelli is behind by the same margin.
Augusta National officials expect the tournament to be decided by mid-afternoon, much earlier than usual due to scheduled N.F.L. games that follow the TV broadcast on CBS.
Softer greens reward aggressive play.
Augusta National was inundated with rain last week, saturating and delaying the greens, which are usually lightning fast. As a result, players have been able to aim for the pins on the par-3's. In the first three rounds, Dustin Johnson played the four shortest holes in 4-under. His closest challengers also fared well with them: Sungjae Im (2-below); Abraham Ancer, (bottom 4); Cameron Smith, (bottom 3); Dylan Frittelli (even par) and Justin Thomas (2-under).
"In mild conditions, you can be really aggressive no matter which club you control," Johnson said.
The green coat ceremony will take place in 2020.
Not too long from now on, someone will be offered one of the green coats offered by Augusta National members since 1937 and Masters winners since 1949 (and, as we wrote this week, anyone – including you! – can sometimes buy from the auction block)
The green coat ceremony will, as usual, take place at Butler Cabin. But Fred S. Ridley, the president of Augusta National, said people watching from home would see more of the room than usual because participants, including Tiger Woods, the reigning champion, will be placed further apart in accordance with the guidelines for social distance.
"We will have the same people in the cabin with the same basic ceremony, but I think we can do it the right way," said Ridley.
A typical part of the Sunday festivities will not happen, however: There usually won't be a ceremony on the 18th green, Ridley said, because that event is primarily for spectators attending the tournament.