AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP)Brooks Koepka is going to take a long break. A month and a half might be about right.
Koepka, who missed the cut at the Masters after trying to play less than a month removed from knee surgery, said Friday that he might not try to compete again until the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island that starts May 20.
”I won’t miss it, I know that,” Koepka said. ”But tough to say if I’ll play anything before that, just for how it feels, how rehab goes and everything.”
Koepka said that if this week hadn’t been the Masters, there was no way he would have tried to play again so quickly after surgery.
He’s a four-time major winner, including the PGA in 2018 and 2019.
”I’ll take a nice long break after this,” Koepka said. ”Way I look at it, I have two more days to do rehab that I probably wouldn’t get if I was out here, and I’ll get ready for the PGA.”
One player who won’t be taking a break after missing the Masters cut: World No. 1 Dustin Johnson. He’s going right back to work at Hilton Head next week.
”I’m playing,” Johnson said.
When Jose Maria Olazabal walked into the interview area, the Spanish media members let out a cheer.
”It’s like winning the event,” the 55-year-old Spaniard said, breaking into a big smile.
In a way, the second round of the Masters did feel like a victory for the two-time Masters champion.
Olazabal shot a 1-under 71 to match his best Augusta National round of the past 15 years and make the cut for the first time since 2014.
The slick greens were a perfect set-up for Olazabal, who knows he can’t match the young guys with the length of his shots. He made up for that shortfall with his knowledge of the course and his touch on the greens.
”It’s lovely to see Augusta play like we have the last two days — fast and firm,” Olazabal said. ”It reminds me a lot of the late ’80s and `90s.”
Those were the glory days for Olazabal, who won his first green jacket in 1994, added another title in 1999 and was a top-10 finisher five other times.
But he hasn’t contended since a tie for third in 2006. In his last 12 appearances, Olazabal missed the cut nine times and didn’t finish higher than 34th the other years.
A huge par save at the 17th, where he knocked in a 40-footer from the fringe after a poor chip, gave him hope of a better finish this year.
”Nice one,” said playing partner Matt Wallace as they walked toward the 18th tee.
”Unexpected,” Olazabal replied.
He could’ve been speaking for the entire day. And coincidentally, Olazabal’s good day at Augusta just happened to fall on what would have been his close friend and fellow Spanish golf icon Seve Ballesteros’ 64th birthday.
No amateurs are playing the weekend at the Masters.
Ollie Osborne was the low amateur, his score of 8-over 152 beating Joe Long (154) and Tyler Strafaci (161).
”One of the main things I learned is not everybody’s perfect,” Osborne said. ”I played with the world’s best, and you don’t have to do everything perfect. You just kind of go about your game and do your thing. These guys are obviously really good, but I’m not that far off.
It’s the first time since 2015 that no amateur has made the cut. But there were plenty of memories – such as staying in the Crow’s Nest atop the Augusta National clubhouse and getting to play 36 holes in arguably the most storied tournament in the world.
”Some bits of advice from the world’s best golfers, that kind of sticks with me,” Long said. ”The amateur dinner, like that experience is just so special. The Crow’s Nest, all those things, they’re memories for life. At the end of the day, you can tell your family about it, and that’s pretty amazing.”
ANCER MOVES ON
Abraham Ancer was tied for 21st through two rounds, at even-par 144.
He has taken only 142 swings.
Ancer was hit with a two-stroke penalty well after his opening round ended, after it was determined that his club touched the sand before his bunker shot on the par-5 15th hole. Ancer signed for a bogey 6, before it was changed to a triple-bogey 8 after rules officials decided he signed for the incorrect score inadvertently.
”I’ve never experienced anything like that,” Ancer said. ”I was already at the house I rented here. We were about to have dinner. We were grilling out, and I got a call from Augusta National telling me that they wanted to show me a video on my bunker shot on 15. Obviously, I had no idea what it was about.
”Then, well, they notified me they were going to give me a two-stroke penalty for touching the sand,” he said. ”Obviously, I was pretty amazed because I had no idea that had happened. You needed a really good camera with some good zoom to be able to see that I touched the sand.”
He shot a 3-under 69 on Friday.
”It was pretty minimal, but I can’t complain,” Ancer said. ”I was holding the club, so I’m the only one liable for that. You’ve got to move on and make some birdies.”
Cameron Smith and Hideki Matsuyama are the only players with multiple eagles this week.
They each had one Thursday, then repeated the feat Friday. Both made a 3 on the par-5 13th in the second round.
Smith eagled the 15th on Thursday. Matsuyama’s first-round eagle came at No. 8.
REED AT 16
Patrick Reed, by his standards, did terribly at the par-3 16th hole on Friday.
He made par.
Reed had made six consecutive birdies at the 16th before Friday, a run that started in the final round of the 2019 Masters.
Matthew Wolff shot rounds of 76 and 79 and would have missed the cut by eight shots anyway.
Instead, his 2021 Masters appearance will go down as a disqualification.
Wolff made a bogey on the par-4 17th, and the scorecard that he returned said he made a lower score. Signing for an incorrect score led to the disqualification.
THEY SAID IT
Justin Thomas, on what advice he’ll be hearing after the second round – one capped by a three-putt bogey on the finishing hole – from his close friend Tiger Woods: ”I’m sure he’s going to give me some crap for that three-putt on 18.”
AP National Writer Paul Newberry contributed to this report.
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