Koepka in command but LIV players have shown up at Augusta

Ronan MacNamara

Brooks Koepka (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

Greg Norman was not invited to this year’s Masters but he might be found lurking on street corners in search of a black market Sunday ticket with Brooks Koepka set to enter the final day with a four-shot lead over Jon Rahm.

Norman certainly poked the bear when he said all eighteen LIV players (two of whom have withdrawn) would storm the 18th green in celebration if one was crowned the Masters champion and that might just happen.

Even if it doesn’t, it has been a quality performance from the players from the Saudi backed tour thus far.


Twelve of the eighteen LIV players made the belated halfway cut with Mr. ‘par 67’ Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Kokrak and former Masters champions Bubba Watson and Sergio Garcia bowing out while Kevin Na and Louis Oosthuizen both withdrew.

Not bad for players coming from a tour who don’t have cuts.

Play was suspended for the day on Saturday with Koepka leading the way. As it stands five LIV golfers occupy the top-23 places on the leaderboard.

Although, you could argue (sarcastically of course) that the tournament has not yet reached the 54-hole mark.

Koepka has talked the talk over the last ten days and he has certainly walked the walk among the azaleas thus far.

All the pre-tournament talk was about Rory McIlroy completing the career grand slam when Koepka could overtake McIlroy in the major championship count with a fifth gong this Easter and move within one of his own grand slam.

Questions of sharpness and competitive edge have been thrown at Koepka and his LIV compatriots but the American is a killer who lives for a major championship.

“It’s obviously super difficult. Ball’s not going anywhere. You’ve got rain to deal with, and it’s freezing cold. It doesn’t make it easy.

“You’ve got to make some pressure putts. You know it was going to be a difficult day. You’ve just got to grind through it and try to salvage something.

I’m not too concerned about playing 29 holes or however many holes we’ve got left. It’s part of the deal. I’m pretty sure I’ll be up for it considering it is the Masters. So I don’t think anybody should have a problem with that.”

The gap could be reduced to just three shots when Koepka returns to the course on Sunday facing a lengthy par attempt on seven after playing a green side bunker shot in the worst of the conditions.

“It would be a helluva lot easier just playing normal than it was there, but it was getting — I mean, that 7th green was soaked. It was very tough. I thought I hit a good bunker shot, and it looked like it just skidded on the water. So I’m glad we stopped.”

On a whole, some of LIV’s most controversial have given the proverbial two fingers to their biggest critics in the shape of Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas with Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed making the cut at their ease. Even lefty made an early Saturday charge before falling back in the difficult conditions.

The atmosphere at Augusta this week has been respectful with PGA Tour and LIV players putting the Masters above their differences and LIV players have more than added to the spectacle by putting in spirited performances across the board and who knows where some of them may have climbed to had there been a normal week of weather.

The golf has been good and LIV have contributed.

Play will resume on Sunday at 8:30am local time (1:30 Irish) to complete the third round with the final round getting underway at 12:30pm local time off both the 1st and 10th tees in two-balls.

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