At blustery Masters, major champions eject — and 1 in shocking fashion

Dustin johnson hits a putt at the 2024 masters

Dustin Johnson putts from off the 9th green during the first round of the 2024 Masters at Augusta National.

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AUGUSTA, Ga. — Jordan Spieth knew it as soon as he hit it. Before his ball even stopped its snail-like pace on the 15th green, he reached his arm out toward caddie Michael Greller. The universal golf symbol for “reload.”

His first ball kept rolling, picking up speed. It rode the slope off the slick putting surface, down the bank and into the water. It landed softly. Plunk. The patrons groaned.

Spieth made a quadruple-bogey 9 on the par-5 15th hole at Augusta National Golf Club, which single-handedly ruined his Masters week. But he was far from the only star — or major champion — who was brought to his knees (and sent home) thanks to devilish winds and glassy greens on Friday.

Brian Harman, last year’s Open champion? Gone. He shot 47 on the second nine. Dustin Johnson, who holds the tournament scoring record? He beat only three players. Two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson? He made an 8 and shot 80.

Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, Sergio Garcia? You guessed it. All gone. So are Justin Thomas and Wyndham Clark. Wyndham Clark! He was a sneaky pick this week.

Thursday was windy, but Friday was windier. Sand blew out of bunkers. Pin flags flapped violently. On the par-3 16th green, the wind blew Gary Woodland’s ball, which was at rest on the top-right shelf, to the bottom tier like it was funneling to the customarty Sunday pin. He shot 81 in the second round. Gone.

Seconds after Woodland’s debacle, on-course reporter Dottie Pepper gave an update on the wind down at Amen Corner. “It is just whipping,” she said.

On the 4th tee, a volunteer had to scramble to pick up his hat that blew off so it didn’t distract a Rory McIlroy tee shot. In fact, no hats were safe on Friday at Augusta National.

“That was about as happy as you could be to be off of a golf course,” said Max Homa, who shot 71 and holds the co-lead at six under. “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.'”

Big numbers can happen at the Masters, but thanks to strong winds gusts and dried-out greens, Friday produced more than recent memory — and they came from household names.

jordan spieth reacts after a shot at the 2024 masters
Jordan Spieth missed the Masters cut for just the second time in his career. Getty Images

On Thursday, Harman was two under after nine. But bogeys on 11 and 12 brought him back to even before play was called for the day. When he picked back up on Friday, things got worse. His third shot on the par-5 13th landed on the middle of the massive green yet still spun off the front and into Rae’s Creek. He made a double-bogey 7. After pars on 14 and 15, he stumbled to a 6-6-6 finish to play the last trio in seven over. He signed for a nine-over 81, which included a second-nine 47.

“That back nine is brutal,” said Phil Mickelson, who shot 75 and, at four over, made the cut. “When you don’t have any birdie holes, you can’t reach 13 and 15. They go from birdie holes to really tough pars. It’s hard to really get any momentum and fight.”

Spieth has six top 10s here, and last year he tied for fourth. On Thursday, he opened with a two-chip double bogey. He didn’t finish his first round due to the weather delay, and he opened Friday par-birdie-bogey. But his round was derailed with that quad at 15. He had just 77 yards to the green for his approach, but he misjudged it badly and overshot the flag by nearly 20 yards. His delicate chip back onto the green wasn’t delicate enough and splashed into the water.

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Dustin Johnson shot 78 in the first round, making it the first time — in 49 career Masters rounds — he didn’t record a birdie. He made his first (and only) birdie of the week on the par-5 13th in his second round, but he also had eight bogeys. They all came in pairs. He shot 79.

Bubba Watson shot 80 on Friday thanks to a double-quad-double stretch on Nos. 10-12. He was just two over for the tournament when he made the turn, but things unraveled on the 10th tee.

“Oh, Bubba!” he said, as soon as the ball left his club. “God dog it. Can I have another ball? I heard that wind coming and I tried to beat it. Gosh dog it.”

But perhaps the biggest heartbreak from a major champ came from Thomas, winner of two PGA Championships. He was even par with four holes remaining — just six off the lead! — yet played those final four in seven over to shoot 79 and the miss the cut by a shot.

He missed the fairway left on 15, elected to hit a big draw out of the trouble but over-cooked it, and the ball trickled into the water. He then wedged over the green and later missed a short putt for bogey. He missed the green on 16 and then three-putted for a double. After a bogey on 17, he doubled the 18th. It’s the second straight year he’s missed the cut at the Masters, and this one comes shortly after a sudden breakup with caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay.

So many major champs went home, but some still remain. Bryson DeChambeau is one of them. He shot a one-over 73, which doesn’t seem like much, but on a day like Friday, any pro would have signed up for that score.

“I’ve always known that I could play good golf. I’ve learned that I’m a little bit better of a wind player than I thought I was maybe,” said DeChambeau, who is tied with Scottie Scheffler and Homa for the 36-hole lead. “And I don’t know what else to say other than that. I feel like the wind was just a difficult test of golf that I’m usually not really good at. I’m pretty poor at wind golf.”

He still passed the test today. Not many others did.

Josh Berhow Editor

As’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at