The Masters is always a tough test for the world’s best golfers, but this year’s edition proved to be especially challenging for some of the top names in the sport. Among the casualties of the cut line were Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, two of the pre-tournament favorites who failed to make it to the weekend at Augusta National.
McIlroy, who was seeking to complete the career grand slam with a win at the Masters, had a disastrous opening round of 76 that included a quadruple-bogey on the seventh hole. He bounced back with a 74 on Friday, but it was not enough to overcome his poor start. He finished at 6-over par, missing the cut by two strokes.
The Northern Irishman admitted that he was struggling with his swing and his confidence, and that he felt pressure to perform well at the Masters. He said he was going to take some time off and work on his game with his new coach Pete Cowen.
“I don’t think I’m that far away,” McIlroy said. “It’s just a matter of being a bit more efficient and maybe taking my practice more seriously and doing the right things.”
Thomas, who won the Players Championship last month and was ranked second in the world entering the Masters, also had a rough first round of 73 that included three bogeys and a double-bogey. He improved to a 67 on Friday, but it was too little too late. He finished at 4-over par, missing the cut by one stroke.
The American said he was frustrated by his performance and that he made too many mistakes on a course that punishes errors. He also said he had trouble adjusting to the fast and firm conditions at Augusta National, which were different from previous years.
“I just didn’t play well enough,” Thomas said. “I didn’t hit enough good shots. I didn’t make enough putts. I didn’t do anything well enough to be here on the weekend.”
McIlroy and Thomas were not the only big names to miss the cut at the Masters. Other notable players who failed to qualify for the final two rounds were Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Jason Day, Patrick Cantlay and Lee Westwood.
On the other hand, some players who made the cut surprised many with their strong performances. Among them were Will Zalatoris, Brian Harman, Si Woo Kim and Corey Conners, who all finished in the top 10 after 36 holes.
The Masters is always full of surprises and drama, and this year was no exception. While some of the golf stars had to pack their bags early, others rose to the occasion and showed their skills on one of the most iconic courses in the world.
Final Thoughts: Masters Cuts Claim Golf Stars, But Also Offer Opportunities for Rising Players
The Masters is one of the most prestigious events in golf, and the cut line is always a defining moment in the tournament. This year’s cut claimed some of the sport’s biggest names, including Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, who were considered pre-tournament favorites. However, their absence also opened up opportunities for other players to shine.
McIlroy’s struggles on the course were apparent from the start, and despite a valiant effort to recover, he fell short of making the cut. His comments on his performance revealed that he was grappling with both physical and mental challenges, including a need to prioritize his practice regimen.
Thomas, on the other hand, acknowledged that he simply did not play well enough and cited difficulty adapting to the course conditions as a factor in his missed cut.
The unexpected exits of some of golf’s biggest stars were undoubtedly disappointing for their fans, but they also provided a platform for rising players to make their mark.
Will Zalatoris, Brian Harman, Si Woo Kim, and Corey Conners were among those who seized the opportunity, impressing with their strong performances and finishing in the top 10 after 36 holes.
The unpredictability of the Masters is part of its allure, and this year’s event lived up to expectations in that regard. While the absence of some of the sport’s biggest names was a setback, the emergence of new talent and the thrill of watching seasoned players push themselves to the limit made for an exciting and memorable tournament.