Golf superstars including Tiger Woods and defending champion Dustin Johnson are set to play in front of "limited" crowds at the Masters, it was announced on Tuesday.

Last year's tournament was delayed from April to November because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there were no spectators allowed for that edition of the major at Augusta National.

That is set to change in 2021, says organisers, who are preparing to welcome a small number of Augusta's 'patrons' to watch the action unfold.

Full attendance was ruled out given the continuing need for social distancing, and those allowed entry must adhere to strict health protocols.

Augusta National club chairman Fred Ridley said: “Following the successful conduct of the Masters tournament last November with only essential personnel, we are confident in our ability to responsibly invite a limited number of patrons to Augusta National in April.

"As with the November Masters, we will implement practices and policies that will protect the health and safety of everyone in attendance.

"Nothing is, or will be, more important than the well-being of all involved. While we are disappointed that we will be unable to accommodate a full complement of patrons this year, we will continue our efforts to ensure that all who purchased tickets from Augusta National will have access in 2022, provided conditions improve."

The Masters is scheduled to take place at its Georgia home from April 8 to 11, with Johnson looking to follow up the stunning 20-under-par performance that saw him win a first green jacket.

That was a record score for a champion in the tournament's history and came a year after former world number one Woods landed his 15th major title when he triumphed at the Masters for a fifth time.

Harris English secured his first win since 2013 with a play-off victory at the Tournament of Champions on Sunday.

The American carded a four-under 69 in the final round to finish alongside Joaquin Niemann (64) at the end of regulation in Kapalua, Hawaii.

English stepped up to birdie the par-five 18th hole in the play-off, overcoming Niemann for his first win since 2013.

"It's incredible," he told the Golf Channel after his third PGA Tour success.

"A lot of hard work over the years, you never think you're going to get here again, winning twice back in 2013 and it's just hard to win out here.

"I had a really good chance this week and felt good about my game and you've just got to get it done."

Niemann produced a stunning nine-under 64 in the final round to finish at 25 under.

But English birdied his final hole to force a play-off and he delivered to secure the title.

Two-time champion Justin Thomas (66) finished at 24 under, a shot ahead of Ryan Palmer (71).

Im Sung-jae (69) and Xander Schauffele (66) ended up tied for fifth at 21 under.

World number two Jon Rahm got going with a six-under 67, but it was only enough to finish tied for seventh alongside Bryson DeChambeau (66) and Collin Morikawa (73).

Dustin Johnson, meanwhile, carded a second straight 69 to finish tied for 11th.

Harris English pulled two strokes clear at the halfway mark of the Tournament of Champions as Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm made their moves.

English, who shared the overnight lead with Justin Thomas, carded a six-under 67 in the second round in Kapalua, Hawaii on Friday.

The American produced a bogey-free round that featured six birdies to move into 14 under at the first PGA Tour event of 2021.

English is two shots ahead of Thomas (69), Daniel Berger (65), Collin Morikawa (65) and Ryan Palmer (67).

Thomas, a two-time champion of the tournament, made four birdies on his front nine but a bogey at 13 slowed his momentum before picking up another shot at the last.

The world's two top-ranked players, Johnson and Rahm, charged into contention.

Johnson, who opened with a 71, made eight birdies in a second-round eight-under 65 to get to 10 under – enough for a tie for 10th.

Rahm is alongside him after the Spaniard produced a fast finish, birdieing five of his final seven holes.

Xander Schauffele (66), Brendon Todd (67), Im Sung-jae (68) and Patrick Reed (68) are tied for sixth at 11 under.

Joining Johnson and Rahm at 10 under are Scottie Scheffler (66), Bryson DeChambeau (67), Joaquin Niemann (67), Carlos Ortiz (67) and Patrick Cantlay (68).

Justin Thomas carded an eight-under 65 to share the lead after the opening round of the Tournament of Champions on Thursday.

Two-time champion Thomas produced a bogey-free first round that included eight birdies in Kapalua, Hawaii.

The world number three, winner of the event in 2017 and 2020, made five birdies on the front nine and three on his final five holes.

Thomas shares a two-stroke lead with Harris English in the first PGA Tour event of the year.

The highlight of English's round was an eagle at the ninth hole, where he chipped in from just off the green.

On what is a congested leaderboard, six players are tied for third at six under.

Sergio Garcia, Robert Streb, Nick Taylor, Ryan Palmer, Im Sung-jae and Patrick Reed all opened with 67s.

Garcia won the tournament in 2002, while Reed was victorious in 2015 and has two runner-up finishes since – including last year.

Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay and Brendon Todd carded five-under 68s.

World number one Dustin Johnson is back in a tie for 30th after opening with a 71, while Jon Rahm carded a 70.

Dustin Johnson admitted his emotions threatened to get the better of him as he closed in on a record-breaking win at the 2020 Masters.

The world number one claimed the famous green jacket for the first time after finishing five strokes clear on an historic 20-under-par - the first time any player has reached that mark at Augusta.

It was the 36-year-old's second major triumph and the first since his 2016 victory at the U.S. Open, but he said this was the tournament he always dreamed of winning.

As he and his caddie, younger brother Austin Johnson, closed out a final round of four under, he found it tough to keep his emotions in check as he thought ahead to receiving the iconic blazer from 2019 champion Tiger Woods.

"It's always tough to get it done in a major, no matter how good you're playing, it's hard," he said. "I was nervous all day; I could feel it. The Masters for me is the biggest, the one I wanted to win the most. I'm proud of the way I handled myself and the way I finished off the tournament.

"Honestly, it still feels like a dream. As a kid, dreaming about winning the Masters, having Tiger put the green jacket on you, it still seems like it's a dream. I'm here; what a great feeling it is. I couldn't be more excited.

"It's an unbelievable feeling, to experience that with my brother. It's a big help to have him here on my bag, I wouldn't want anyone else there. To share all these memories and moments with him is incredible. I had a jam a little bit on the 18th, he was tearing it up, it made me tear up – I still got to finish this off, I can't be crying! I'll remember this for the rest of my life.

"It's an incredible feeling. I've played unbelievable golf all week. The conditions of the course definitely helped the scoring a little bit. I played really well, today felt really difficult, the wind was very tricky. To have the scoring record, shooting 20 under is a great honour. I'm so excited, it's hard to even talk."

Woods hailed the achievement of a man he says has brought a new level of "athleticism" to golf.

"He's an amazing athlete," Woods said. "He's one of the first guys to ever bring athleticism to our sport.

"DJ has just an amazing ability to stay calm in tough moments, and in order to win this event, and we all know as past champions how hard it is, the emotions we have to deal with out there.  There's no one more suited to that, I think, than DJ."

World number one Dustin Johnson rounded off a dominant week at Augusta National by claiming his maiden Masters crown.  

Johnson finished on a record-breaking 20-under for the tournament, five strokes clear of nearest rivals Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im. 

The 36-year-old took some time to relocate the imperious form he displayed during Saturday's bogey-free 65, dropping shots at four and five.  

That wobble offered a reminder that Johnson had failed to convert on the previous four occasions he had held a 54-hole lead at a major.  

However, the 2016 U.S. Open winner stormed clear on the back nine, with an immaculate wedge to six feet on 15 setting up a third consecutive birdie - a successful putt that made him the first player in Masters history to reach 20-under.

Dustin Johnson won the Masters with a score of 20-under par - the world number one becoming the first player in history to reach that mark at Augusta.

Dustin Johnson's previously commanding position at the top of the Masters leaderboard was left looking a little less dominant after his lead was cut to two at the halfway point of the final round on Sunday.

The world number one enjoyed a near flawless outing a day earlier, his seven-under-par 65 helping him to equal the 54-hole record set by Jordan Spieth in 2015 and open up a four-shot lead over Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im.

But an early wobble offered encouragement to the chasers, particularly the impressive Smith, who found himself as Johnson's closest competitor at the turn.

Having parred the first, Johnson then showed signs of unease as he scrambled to avoid dropping a shot on the par-five second.

A birdie at the third proved a false dawn of sorts as back-to-back bogeys followed.

At the same point, Im was two under for the day and seemingly closing on Johnson, only for the South Korean's bogey at the sixth to set him back.

However, at the halfway point it was Smith – a Masters debutant, like Im – who appeared the most likely to knock Johnson off the summit, the Australian just two adrift having been four off the pace at the start of the day.

Smith made it to the turn in 33, his remarkable approach shot from a bed of pine needles setting up his fourth birdie of the day on the ninth.

Elsewhere on the course, five-time Masters champion Tiger Woods endured a torrid time on the par-three 10th, incredibly carding a 10 after three visits to Rae's Creek

Dustin Johnson has another chance to turn a 54-hole lead into a major title ahead of the final round of the Masters.

The world number one carded a seven-under 65 at Augusta on Saturday to open up a four-stroke lead and be well-placed for a second major crown.

The 54-hole lead is the fifth of Johnson's major career, and he has failed to convert any of the previous four into victories.

Brooks Koepka took a jab at Johnson's major total during the US PGA Championship earlier this year. Johnson took a one-stroke lead into the final round at TPC Harding Park, before finishing tied for second behind Collin Morikawa.

Johnson has dominated on the PGA Tour since that event, winning the Northern Trust before four straight top-six finishes prior to the Masters.

But can the 23-time winner on the Tour turn another 54-hole lead into a second major title?

Johnson previously led after the third round at three U.S. Opens (2010, 2015 and 2018) and this year's US PGA. Aside from his implosion at Pebble Beach a decade ago, he finished in the top three at the other three.

The 2010 U.S. Open was the only other time in his career that Johnson has led by three shots or more heading into the final round of a major, but will the 2020 Masters be a different story?

2010 U.S. Open

It fell apart quickly for Johnson 10 years ago. A three-stroke lead evaporated on the back of a triple bogey at the second hole and double bogey at the third, and he finished with six more bogeys in his round as Graeme McDowell went on to win by one. Johnson finished tied for eighth at five over. It represented the largest lead lost by a 54-hole leader at the U.S. Open since 2005, when Retief Goosen gave up a three-shot lead, and Michael Campbell capitalised.

2015 U.S. Open

Johnson entered the final round sharing a three-shot lead with Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Branden Grace. The big-hitting Johnson went to the final green with a chance to win his first major, facing a 12-foot eagle putt for victory. But he incredibly three-putted, handing Spieth the title. It was his ninth top-10 finish in 25 major starts.

2018 U.S. Open

At this stage already a U.S. Open champion, Johnson found himself in a familiar position after three rounds – in a four-way tie for the lead, this time alongside Koepka, Tony Finau and Daniel Berger. But Koepka's final-round 68 proved too good at Shinnecock Hills, Johnson's 70 enough for third place, behind the charging Tommy Fleetwood (63).

2020 US PGA Championship

A four-time major winner, Koepka questioned Johnson's tally before the final round in San Francisco, where the latter held a one-stroke lead. But Morikawa stole the show in the final round with a stunning six-under 64. It marked Johnson's fifth runner-up finish in a major and he became the first player to finish second at the US PGA in consecutive years since Jack Nicklaus (1964-65).

Tiger Woods has given no consideration to the emotions that may come with placing the green jacket on a new Masters champion on Sunday as his focus was purely on attempting to stay in contention in round three.

Last year, Woods ended an 11-year wait for a 15th major title with a stunning triumph at Augusta National, his fifth Masters win and one shy of Jack Nicklaus' overall record.

An even-par 72 on Saturday means he is 11 strokes off leader Dustin Johnson, whose score of 16 under matches the 54-hole record set by Jordan Spieth in 2015.

Johnson is four shots clear at the top of the leaderboard and whether Woods is awarding his fellow American a green jacket or someone else in contention, he has not thought about how he will feel doing so. 

"I have not. Tuesday [the Champions Dinner] was a long, tough day for me, but I have not thought about tomorrow yet," Woods told a news conference following Saturday's round. 

"I was focused on trying to get myself in contention going into tomorrow.

"I just found out that the tee times are going to be a bit early tomorrow and going off two tees, so I didn't know what that bracket was going to be.

"I don't know exactly what position I'm in. I certainly will be part of the early part of the split and get after it tomorrow. We'll see how emotional it'll be after tomorrow's round."

While Johnson hunts a maiden Masters victory, this year marked the 25th anniversary of Woods' first appearance at the major, as an amateur in April 1995.

With the 2020 tournament pushed back to November due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the course has proven unpredictable for many seasoned competitors, including Woods, who stated earlier in the week that previous champions would be favoured once the ground firmed up.

"Well, it got a little bit faster, yes, but the putts just still aren't quite breaking," said Woods, who also said he was dealing with back pain during his third round.

"Some of the downhill putts are starting to move a little bit, but the uphill putts – we normally say that everything breaks towards Rae's Creek, and the greens can get a little touch grainy. 

"That's definitely been the case this week, just because they've been a little bit longer."

Dustin Johnson is confident that this time he will turn a 54-hole lead into major glory after a sublime third-round performance at the Masters.

The world number one shot 65 to move to 16 under par for the tournament, levelling the low score at this stage set by Jordan Spieth at Augusta National in 2015.

Johnson has faced disappointment from similar positions in the past, failing on four occasions to turn a lead after round three into a major win.

The most recent occurred at August's PGA Championship, though the manner of Colin Morikawa's stunning victory was in sharp contrast to Johnson's other nightmares – which included an 82 at Pebble Beach, a bunker miscalculation at Whistling Straits and an ugly three-putt at the last at Chambers Bay.

Speaking about what he needs to do to avoid history repeating itself, Johnson said: "If I can play like I did today, I think it will break that streak.  

"Tomorrow it's just 18 holes of golf. I need to go out and play solid. I feel like I'm swinging really well. If I can just continue to give myself a lot of looks at birdie, I think I'll have a good day."

Johnson, who grew up about an hour away from Augusta, acknowledged that there is still plenty of golf left to play.

"It's definitely still a long way to go. Still got 18 more holes left," he said. "But I mean, it would mean a lot. What a great event; it's the Masters, a major.  

"I grew up right down the road, so this one would be very special to me."

Johnson is a consistent winner on the PGA Tour but his sole major triumph came at the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, an experience he plans to draw upon when he tees up on Sunday.  

"I put myself in the situation a lot of times. I know what it takes. I know how I respond in this situation," he added. 

"I'm very comfortable with having the lead going into tomorrow. I've been in this situation a lot of times. I'm looking forward to the challenge.  

"It's still going to be a tough day. I'm going to have to play well if I want to get it done tomorrow."

Johnson, who stated how he worked on his putting with the legendary Greg Norman earlier this year, went 14-for-14 in finding fairways during round three.

Debutants Im Sungjae and Abraham Ancer join Australia's Cameron Smith as the nearest challengers, sitting four strokes adrift, while Dylan Frittelli is five back and Justin Thomas is 10 under.

Dustin Johnson produced a masterclass to equal the 54-hole score at the Masters, putting himself in prime position to win a maiden green jacket.

The world number one was in a class of his own during a flawless seven-under-par 65 at Augusta National, leaving him at 16 under for the tournament – level with Jordan Spieth's score at the same stage in 2015.

Debutants Im Sungjae and Abraham Ancer join Australia's Cameron Smith as the nearest challengers, sitting four strokes adrift, while Dylan Frittelli is five back and Justin Thomas at 10 under.

Johnson has four top-10 finishes in his past four Masters appearances and it will take something special to deny the 36-year-old a second major title after his 2016 U.S. Open triumph.

A glorious front nine began with Johnson playing his opening four holes in four under, with a crunching approach at the par-five second leaving him a tap-in for eagle.

Three more strokes were gained prior to the turn, including draining a 38-foot putt at the fourth, while accuracy and crisp iron shots were hallmarks of Johnson's play on the way home, where he did the business on the par fives, birdieing both.

Johnson has previous for disappointments from promising positions in the majors but there have been few signs the chasing pack can play at the same consistently brilliant level to overhaul his commanding lead.

The 2019 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Im had just one bogey in his round of four under, though, while Ancer also only dropped only one shot and Smith was boosted by a streak of three birdies between the 13th and 15th in a blemish-free round.

It was a case of what might have been for Thomas, who was three under through 11 holes but mixed four bogeys with two birdies from there to come home in disappointing fashion.

Jon Rahm struggled to get going and his even-par round included an ugly double-bogey at the eighth and another dropped shot at the last to leave him on nine under, level with 2018 champion Patrick Reed and Sebastian Munoz.

Rory McIlroy will be ruing a nightmare first-round 75 after following a 66 with a five-under 65 on Saturday.

The Northern Irishman was flying with five birdies and no bogeys through 12 before three-putting for bogey at 13 and regaining the stroke at the 16th.

At eight under McIlroy looks too far back to end the elusive wait to complete golf's grand slam. Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood and Hideki Matsuyama are on the same score.

The gap is even larger for reigning champion Tiger Woods, who sits 11 strokes off the pace after an even-par 72.

Rory McIlroy believes he has left himself too much to do to end his wait for Masters glory despite an impressive 67 in the third round. 

The four-time major winner, who is chasing the green jacket at Augusta to complete the set, signed for a five-under score to move to eight under overall. 

But as Dustin Johnson pulled clear - 14 under when McIlroy finished, which soon became 15 under - the Northern Irishman acknowledged his hopes may have disappeared with his opening effort of 75. 

"If he just plays his game, he's going to get to at least 16. Eight shots," McIlroy said after his round. 

"I'm being a realist here; I just need to go out there tomorrow and shoot a good one and see where it puts me. I have zero thoughts about winning this golf tournament right now." 

His plan instead? "Just try to play a good round of golf," he said. 

"Just try to do the same thing I've done the last couple of days, go out and try to hit every fairway, try to hit every green, try to make a birdie on every hole if you can. 

"You're just trying to shoot the best possible score. That's the way to win golf tournaments, just keep doing that day after day. That's what I'm going to try to do. 

"As I said, I think I've left myself too far back after the bad first day, but I'll go and give it a good effort tomorrow and see where that leaves me."

McIlroy conceded he had been "tentative" early in the week and expected he would come to regret his poor start to the tournament. 

"I think 11 under for the last two days speaks for itself," he said. "The good golf was in there, I just didn't allow myself to play that way on the first 18 holes. 

"This course can do that. This course can make you a little bit careful and a little bit tentative at times. 

"I've always said I play my best golf when I'm trusting and freer. I've been a lot freer over the last 36 holes. 

"I try to view everything as a learning experience, but I'll look back at that and rue some of the shots that I hit and some of the thought-processes I had and just try to learn from it and be better the next time." 

The iconic Georgia course has repeatedly proven McIlroy's undoing, but he recognises it should not have been such a problem. 

He said: "The Masters and Augusta National have some of the coolest traditions in our game. Of course, you want to be a part of that for the rest of your life if you can. 

"Winning the Masters would be cool, winning the grand slam would be cool, and there's a lot of great things that come along with that. 

"But at the end of the day, you have to try to simplify it as much as you can. 

"It's just a golf tournament, and you're playing against guys you see every week. It shouldn't be that different."

Jon Rahm moved into a five-way share of the lead when the second round of The Masters was completed and Bryson DeChambeau only just avoided missing the cut on Saturday.

Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Abraham Ancer and Cameron Smith topped the leaderboard after completing 36 holes before play was halted in fading light at Augusta on Friday.

Rahm holed a short birdie putt when he resumed at the 13th hole to join that quartet and the world number two remained at nine under after signing for a 66 following five consecutive pars.

The composed Spaniard chipped in from the edge of the green at 15 to remain a joint-leader of a major that is finely poised on moving day.

DeChambeau was in danger of making an early exit, but sneaked in for the rest of the weekend by the skin of his teeth, moving just about the cut line despite finishing with back-to-back bogeys to sign for a 74.

Pre-tournament favourite DeChambeau, who revealed a COVID-19 test he took after playing on Friday as he was feeling dizzy came back negative, faced an anxious wait to see if the cut line would be moved but the U.S. Open champion was able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Patrick Reed moved into the top 10 after heading back out for an early start, picking up a couple of shots to sit in contention on eight under with a second successive four-under 68.

Defending champion Tiger Woods is just four shots off the pace on a congested leaderboard following a second round of 71, a birdie at 15 moving him on to five under.

Justin Rose, the leader at the end of a weather-affected first day, carded a two-under 70 and is two shots adrift of the leaders.

 

Bryson DeChambeau faces a challenge to make the cut at this year's Masters as four players shared the lead at the end of day two at Augusta. 

Masters debutant Abraham Ancer, Cameron Smith, Justin Thomas and world number one Dustin Johnson are all on nine under at the top of a congested leaderboard. 

However, after his difficulties on day one drew plenty of attention, DeChambeau is in real danger of missing out on playing in the final two rounds in Georgia at the rearranged major. 

Having proclaimed he was going to play Augusta as if it was a par 67, DeChambeau carded a 70 in his opening round but had slipped back to one over for the tournament when play was halted due to bad light. 

DeChambeau will need to be inside the top 50 including ties to sit the right side of the cut line, though he made a dismal start on Friday when he hit a triple bogey on the third. 

The U.S. Open champion dropped further shots at the fourth, fifth and seventh, though that error was wedged between two birdies in an up-and-down front nine. 

Yet another bogey followed on the 10th, but DeChambeau closed out for the day with a birdie on the 12th and launched a drive over the trees to leave himself in with a great chance of an eagle on the par-five 13th when he returns to finish off his round.

Jon Rahm, meanwhile, looks well set to make it a five-way share for the lead when he starts again on Saturday, having left himself a six-foot putt for birdie on the 13th green. 

Overnight leader Paul Casey dropped his first shot of the day with a bogey at the 10th - he sliced his third right across the green - to sit on six under through 12 holes, while Lee Westwood moved himself back to three under before the hooter went. 

Tiger Woods was in indifferent form through his opening nine holes as he remained on four under, while Hideki Matsuyama is just one stroke off the lead with three to play thanks to a birdie on the 15th, with Sungjae Im and Patrick Cantlay also on eight under.

Brooks Koepka enjoyed a strong finish to his round, successive birdies on his final two holes moving the former world number one to five under. 

"I need to clean it up for the weekend if I want to win. No three putts," he told Sky Sports. "I feel fine, I am glad to be done, go put my feet up, go work out – not that excited as I have got legs today, it's going to be a long day. 

"My body feels great, just need to clean up those sloppy mistakes."

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