Struggles for Defending Masters Champion Rahm at Augusta National

Get the latest on reigning Masters champion Jon Rahm’s tough round at Augusta National as he aims for consecutive titles. Explore how Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods battled in the high-stakes tournament with a record prize fund.

Defending Masters Champion Rahm Struggles on Moving Day at Augusta

Published: BBC Sports, April 8, 2023

Reigning Masters champion Jon Rahm remained firmly off the pace on day three of the prestigious tournament at Augusta National. The Spaniard, who had pledged his commitment to the PGA Tour before controversially defecting to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series, failed to mount a serious challenge for a second consecutive green jacket.

Rahm, seeking to become just the fourth player in history to win back-to-back Masters titles, added a third-round 72 to previous scores of 73 and 76, leaving him languishing at five over par for the championship. The two-time major winner has yet to taste victory in any of the five LIV events he has contested since his high-profile switch, although he did finish fourth in last week’s tournament in Miami.

Conditions were extremely challenging on Friday, with Rahm questioning whether play should have been suspended amidst gusts of up to 40mph that sent scores soaring.

“It was extremely difficult,” the Ryder Cup star lamented after his round. “I can imagine they were very close to calling it a few times.”

Rory McIlroy, Rahm’s Ryder Cup teammate, also failed to make significant strides, quickly giving himself more work to do with a bogey on the first hole. The world number two did recover with a birdie on the par-five second, but a three-putt on the sixth and a missed opportunity from five feet on the next hole ultimately kept him out of contention.

Tiger Woods, seeking a remarkable sixth Masters title, also struggled to gain traction, adding a double bogey on the seventh hole to a superb birdie on the difficult fifth. The veteran American remains seven shots off the pace heading into the final round at Augusta.

With the prize fund increased to a record $20 million, the new Masters champion will earn a lucrative $3.6 million on Sunday, up from $3.24 million last year.

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