Jon Rahm says windy conditions Friday were difficult

Jon Rahm says windy conditions Friday were difficult

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AUGUSTA, Ga. — The field for the 88th Masters Tournament battled brutish conditions that included mini-sand storms in Friday’s second round but everyone finished their rounds, with the final group tapping in their putts at twilight.

If defending champion Jon Rahm had his way, that wouldn’t have happened and some of the field would have returned to complete their second rounds Saturday morning. He would have suspended play because of the near 40 mph wind that sent scores soaring.

After surviving to shoot 4-over-par 76 on Friday and making the cut by one shot, the Spaniard vented.

“A couple times questioning myself why we were out there, especially when I got to 18 and saw the whole front of the green just full of sand,” said Rahm, who did make par on No. 18. “It’s rolling a little bit different. I understand they want us to finish. I can imagine they were very close to calling it a few times, especially when we were on 11 green and we were getting those massive gusts every couple of minutes or so. It was extremely difficult. It’s just, again, borderline. It was very, very close. It’s about as hard a golf course as I’ve seen in a very long time.”

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The stats bear that out. The scoring average of 75.079 was the highest for any second round since 75.676 in 1982. In the 88-year history of the Masters, the highest average score for any round is 78.628 for the third round in 1956.

The whipping wind made for slow, plodding rounds on Friday, some around six hours. For instance, the final pairing went off at 2 p.m. ET and finished at 7:58 p.m. ET.

Players had to take more time with shots because they were trying to figure out the direction of the swirling wind. Some had to back up putts on the greens because they were afraid their ball was going to move from the wind.

“Yeah, you just put the ball down, and it’s very close to moving,” Rahm said. “Not only that, how long did it take us to play? Over six hours to play just because they had to blow the greens in between groups, and then when you get to a group, people stepping back and back in.”

Augusta National is already a physically grueling test of golf. Add in the windy condition on Friday and it also became a mental challenge with a premium placed on patience.

2024 Masters

Rory McIlroy and his caddie, Harry Diamond, duck out of the wind as sand from a bunker is kicked up on No. 11 during the second round of the 2024 Masters Tournament. (Photo: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Network)

“That was about as happy as you could be to be off of a golf course,” said Max Homa, who shot 71. “That was so hard. We got the sand shower to end our day. So it was kind of even the golf course saying, ‘Get the hell out of here.’ It was nice. It was hard. We had to play extra holes (23 to complete Thursday’s suspended round). Just being out in the wind for that long just got old. Even here, even at a place as amazing as this, you still – I was picturing my couch and the TV. Yeah, just wanted to be done. Just be inside. That’s all we were rooting for.”

Everyone knows about Tiger Woods’ mental toughness, especially with the myriad injuries he’s battled through. Homa saw first-hand how Woods blocked out the challenging weather conditions when they were paired together Friday. Woods shot 72.

“On 18, we had sandblasts for 45 seconds, and I turned around five times so I didn’t get crushed in the face, and he’s standing there like a statue and then poured it right in the middle (a 5-foot putt for par),” Homa said.

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