Tour Confidential: Can anyone catch Brooks Koepka at the Masters?
Check in each day of this week’s Masters for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors as they break down the hottest topic in the tournament, and join the conversation by tweeting us @golf.com.
Saturday’s big winner at the Masters? The weather. Forecasts held true, the rains came and eventually third-round play was suspended at Augusta National, with the leaders through six holes. It makes for a long Sunday, but we’ll have a winner come nightfall. Could it be Brooks Koepka, the 36-hole leader who’s at 13-under and currently leads by four. Could it be Jon Rahm, Koepka’s closest pursuer? How about amateur Sam Bennett, who’s seven back? Or the all-star team at five-under: Patrick Cantlay, Matt Fitzpatrick, Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland? To our panel then, our question is this: Is the Masters over? Should they be fitting Koepka for the green jacket? Or can someone make a move on him?
Nick Piastowski, senior editor (@nickpia): I picked Koepka at the start of the week, and I’m sticking with it. The wet and soggy conditions are only going to help him, too — Augusta National is playing long, and Koepka is a long player. Incredibly, he’s made only one bogey all week and was one of just 11 players under par during the suspended third round. But I want to believe Rahm makes a run, if just for fantastic Sunday theater. Two heavyweights, with Rahm maybe a stroke or two back on the final nine, would be epic.
Jessica Marksbury, multimedia editor (@jess_marksbury): So much can change on the back nine at Augusta, let alone over the course of a round and a half. But four shots is a significant lead, especially in hands like Koepka’s. I don’t see it going any other way but his at this point.
Sean Zak, senior editor (@sean_zak): They should be fitting him for a jacket. 44 regular, I’d guess? Koepka is playing such controlled golf, which is how he’s won all his majors. Never making a poor swing. Never smashing a putt six feet by. It’s incredible because that happens to everyone at some point out here. I’d love for Rahm to give him a run, but this one feels wrapped up.
Josh Berhow, managing editor (@Josh_Berhow): Let’s not forget how much golf they have to play. And by the way, when they resume play on Sunday morning, Rahm has nine feet for birdie and Koepka 11 feet for par. That could easily be a two-shot swing and cut Rahm’s entire deficit in half with 29 (!) holes to play. Rahm has been brilliant this week — his only blemishes a fluky four-putt double bogey on the 1st hole to begin his tournament and two bogeys in brutal conditions finishing off his second round on Saturday. I think Rahm catches Koepka and claims major No. 2.
Dylan Dethier, senior writer (@dylan_dethier): You’re all getting ahead of yourselves. We’re only 60 percent of the way through this thing! A half-dozen guys could still make a charge. I’ve got Jon Rahm, for my money, once he gets a good night’s sleep and puts on his chasing hat. But I’m guessing this tournament still has three or four twists and turns still and the end of Sunday is going to look significantly different than it does right now.
Just happy to be here.
Jack Hirsh, assistant editor (@JR_HIRSHey): I’m with Josh and Dylan on this one. There is so much that can happen on the back nine, and just about everyone needs to play it twice before we wrap this one. Four shots is nothing. Brooks looks a lot like the 2017-2019 Brooks, so I’m not making any bets against him. That said, I think anyone at five-under or better still has a chance. In 2005, Chris DiMarco was 13-under and Tiger Woods was nine-under when play was suspended midway through the third round Saturday. We all know how that worked out. I say Koepka wins, but it will be a close one.