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."

Tiger Woods imploded in remarkable fashion on the 12th hole at Augusta on Sunday, but the five-time Masters champion was proud of his response to the setback. 

Woods – who triumphed at Augusta in 2019 – fell apart on the par-three hole at Rae's Creek during his final round, shooting a 10. 

The 15-time major winner's tee shot bounced back into the water and a wedge from the resultant drop also found the drink. 

Woods' then landed his next shot into a bunker, before his subsequent attempt out of the sand sailed over the green and back into the water for a third time. 

He regained his composure to finish with two putts, though the damage was already done as he slipped to four over par.

However, Woods hit back to shoot five birdies over his last six holes, ensuring he ended his tournament by signing for a score of 76, leaving him at one under. 

"That's part of our sport," Woods told reporters. "This sport is awfully lonely sometimes.  

"You have to fight it. No one is going to bring you off the mound or call in a sub. You have to fight through it.  

"That's what makes this game so unique and so difficult mentally. We've all been there, unfortunately. I've been there and you just have to turn around and figure out the next shot, and I was able to do that coming home."

Explaining his error-strewn effort on the 12th, Woods added: "Well, I committed to the wrong wind. 

"The wind was off the right for the first two guys, and then when I stepped up there, it switched to howling off the left, and the flag on 11 was howling off the left.  

"I didn't commit to the wind, and I also got ahead of it and pushed it, too, because I thought the wind would come more off the right and it was off the left, and that just started the problem from there. 

"From there I hit a lot more shots and had a lot more experiences there in Rae's Creek, and then this is unlike any other sport in which you're so alone out there and you have to figure it out and you have to fight and no one is going to pull you off the bump and you just have to figure it out." 

Woods finished 19 strokes behind winner Dustin Johnson, who capped a supreme performance with a fourth-round 68 to finish on 20 under, the first player to reach that number in Masters history. 

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

Defending Masters champion Tiger Woods hit a 10 with three water balls on the par three 12th at Augusta on Sunday.

Woods imploded at Rae's Creek during his final round, with his tee shot bouncing back into the water and a wedge from his subsequent drop rolling into the drink off the green.

His next attempt found the back right bunker but another horrible shot floated over the green and he was in the wet stuff for a third time.

The 15-time major champion finally managed to two-putt and find the hole, slipping from three under for the tournament to four over. His Sunday round slumped to nine over.

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."

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."

Dustin Johnson managed to maintain a share of the Masters lead as he recovered from successive bogies, while Rory McIlroy responded to a frustrating opening 75 with a superb second round.

After finishing his first round with 65 early on day two, world number one Johnson was back out swiftly at Augusta National, and struck three birdies in his first four holes to move to nine under.

However, consecutive bogies on the 14th and 15th -– his fifth and sixth – set the 36-year-old back.

Cameron Smith and Masters debutant Abraham Ancer capitalised, with respective efforts of 68 and 67 to nose themselves ahead, while Justin Thomas joined them with a three-under 69.

Thomas made it a three-way share of the lead by following a precise iron onto the ninth green with a clinical putt for a birdie. 

Yet Johnson rallied on his back nine, keeping his composure to maintain par throughout before a four-foot birdie on the 18th ensured a four-way tie for the lead.

While Johnson was flying early on Friday, McIlroy's first round was a dismal one, but the Northern Irishman bit back with a flawless 66 – including five birdies – to put himself in a great position to make the cut at three under. 

WILLETT FINDS HIS RHYTHM

Patrick Cantlay is in tied-second on eight under, ahead of British trio Danny Willett, Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose. Dylan Frittelli followed an opening 65 with 73, though at six-under he is well in contention heading into the weekend.

Willett has made the cut for the first time since winning the Masters, with his 66 his best round at Augusta, while Fleetwood matched the 2016 champion with a 15-foot putt on the 18th.

"Things felt pretty good coming into the week," Willett told Sky Sports. "Nice memories, you get nice vibes. The course is obviously playing very different to what we know it can play like.

"The scoring will continue to get really good as the day goes on. The weather's perfect, the greens are as good as they can be.

"Me, Patrick Reed and Jordan [Spieth] are the only champions under 40. It's still surreal, still an amazing place to come to. An incredibly special place."

NIGHTMARE STARTS FOR WOODS AND DECHAMBEAU

Bryson DeChambeau's bullish build-up seems to have backfired. He labelled Augusta a par 67, yet he found himself two over five holes into his second round.

After birdieing his second, DeChambeau endured a miserable time on the third, losing his ball before chipping beyond the hole and down the slope, taking a further two shots to find the pin.

That moved the U.S. Open champion back to level par, and more frustration followed with successive bogeys, though he pulled a shot back on the sixth.

Looking to build on a solid 72 from day one, Tiger Woods found the hole in four on the par-five second, having been inches away from converting a chip for eagle.

Yet the five-time champion missed a simple putt on the next hole, dropping his first shot of the week from around 15 feet.

Paul Casey will carry a two-stroke lead into Friday at the Masters as Tiger Woods made an impressive start to his title defence at a rain-hit Augusta.

Casey opened with a seven-under 65 in Georgia on Thursday, but the first round was initially delayed and then suspended for almost three hours due to inclement weather.

The Englishman, who was runner-up at the US PGA Championship earlier this year for his 10th top-10 finish at a major, produced a bogey-free round that included an eagle and five birdies.

Casey sat two strokes clear of American duo Webb Simpson and Xander Schauffele, who opened with 67s, when play was suspended for the day due to darkness with 44 players yet to get through 18 holes.

It continued Simpson's fine form, having finished in the top 20 in each of his past six starts on the PGA Tour.

But all eyes were on Woods, who started his title defence with a four-under 68.

Having sensationally won his 15th major at the Masters last year, Woods entered the tournament with just one top-10 finish in 2020 and that came at the Farmers Insurance Open in January.

However, the American – starting on the back nine – made three birdies in four holes from the 13th and picked up a shot at the first during a bogey-free first round.

A five-time Masters winner, Woods' 68 tied his lowest first-round score at the tournament and was his first bogey-free round in a major since the 2009 US PGA Championship.

Woods' round left him in an eight-way tie for fourth, with Hideki Matsuyama, Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Reed alongside him and having completed their rounds.

But Adam Scott (through 10), Justin Thomas (through nine) and Dylan Frittelli (through eight) were all flying and at four under before play was suspended.

Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, made four birdies on the front nine, while Thomas and Frittelli made more mixed starts.

World number one Dustin Johnson (through eight) and Jon Rahm (69) were among a group at three under alongside Rickie Fowler (through 11) and Matthew Wolff (through 10).

U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau recovered from a double bogey at the 13th hole to post a two-under 70 and sit in a tie for 19th, a position he is joined in by Jason Day (70) and Justin Rose (through eight) among others.

Rory McIlroy struggled to get much going, reaching even par halfway through his round, while Brooks Koepka was one over through nine.

Jordan Spieth, the 2015 winner, showed no signs of turning his poor form around, opening with a 74.

Tiger Woods was not surprised by his return to form at the Masters, believing his knowledge of Augusta can be key as he positioned himself among the contenders.

The defending champion has played just once since September's U.S. Open when he failed to retain his ZOZO Championship title as he finished in a tie for 72nd.

Woods' underwhelming performances, combined with his back problems, prompted many to write the 15-time major winner off coming into this week.

But teeing off at the 10th after a three-hour weather delay on Thursday, he looked to be back to his old self.

Woods carded birdies at the 13th, 15th, 16th and first and did not drop a shot all round, finishing with a four-under 68 - enough to sit three back of clubhouse leader Paul Casey in T4.

If onlookers were surprised by the display, though, then Woods most certainly was not, pointing to his Augusta experience that spans 25 years and five titles.

"Understanding this golf course is so important," he explained.

"I've been lucky enough to play so many practice rounds earlier in my career with past champions and I was able to win here early in my career.

"It set me up for the understanding that I'm going to come here each and every year.

"There's the fact that this tournament is played on the same venue each and every year; the other three majors aren't. Understanding how to play [the course] is a big factor."

Asked explicitly if anyone should be surprised by his performance, Woods added: "No."

Among the earlier starters, Woods was able to finish regardless of the inclement weather, with 2018 champion Patrick Reed (also four under), world number two Jon Rahm (three under) and favourite Bryson DeChambeau (two under) also completing 18 holes.

Justin Thomas - four under through nine - and Dustin Johnson - three under through eight - were moving into contention, meanwhile, although Rory McIlroy's Masters misery showed no imminent signs of shifting.

The Northern Irishman, looking to finally complete a career grand slam, bogeyed the first and was even par at the turn.

Day one of Bryson DeChambeau's driving assault on Augusta did not go exactly to plan.

All eyes were on the U.S. Open champion as he teed off from the 10th on Thursday as the favourite to win this year’s Masters, armed with an attack plan that had been the source of much discussion.

Would the PGA Tour's longest driver, as he suggested, look for the 14th fairway from the 13th tee? Could he possibly even drive the green from the first? Nick Faldo promised to run naked through the iconic course if the latter came to pass.

There was no doubting DeChambeau's ambition in the opening round, but the aggressive approach initially appeared flawed and his improved putting had to come to the rescue on more than one occasion.

DeChambeau met his match early, scrambling to make par at the 11th and 14th after frequenting the trees but double-bogeying the 13th.

The tide steadily turned, however, with DeChambeau still relying on a series of hefty tee shots, even if his drive at the first pulled left and allowed Faldo, in attendance as a CBS analyst, to keep his clothes on.

It was a tumultuous round for the most part and yet, by the time he returned to the clubhouse, the 27-year-old had a two-under 70, still very much in contention.

"I'm very happy with the patience I delivered to the course today," DeChambeau said.

"I tried to take on some risk. It didn't work out as well as I thought it would have, but I'm proud of the way I handled myself and finished off.

"Birdieing eight and nine was a testament to my focus level and wanting to contend here."

Of his double-bogey setback, he added: "I just didn't draw it around the corner enough and I got greedy.

"This golf course, as much as I'm trying to attack it, it can bite back. It's still Augusta National and it's the Masters. It's an amazing test of golf no matter what way you play it."

Not among those past champions but leading the way early on was Paul Casey, a bogey-free round boosted by an eagle at the second to finish on 65.

Casey finished in a tie for second at the US PGA Championship and suggested playing majors during the coronavirus pandemic is easier than a standard tournament.

"I didn't know how this was going to be, playing in a pandemic without fans," he told Sky Sports. "To be honest, I still don't like it, I miss the energy.

"But the majors we've played – Harding Park, Winged Foot, now Augusta – you can sense there's a buzz among the players. It's been that difference that has led to my good golf in the bigger championships.

"I want people to be pouring through the gates and enjoying watching myself and others play golf. But until that happens, I'm trying to make the most of it this week."

Tiger Woods, the defending champion, might yet have his say. He too finished flawless on 68 after birdies at the 13th, 15th, 16th and first.

Tiger Woods made a promising start to the defence of his title and Paul Casey took an early lead in The Masters on Thursday

Woods sensationally won a 15th major title at Augusta last year and the legendary American was just two shots off the lead through 10 holes in his first round.

The 44-year-old birdied the 13th, 15th and 16th after starting on the back nine and moved to four under with another gain at the first after play was suspended for almost three hours due to heavy rain in Georgia.

Casey jumped to the top of the leaderboard on six under with an eagle three at the second, the Englishman's 11th hole of his opening round.

He set that up with a magnificent booming drive off the tee, sending his second shot to around four feet of the hole and then making no mistake with the putter.

Four birdies in his opening seven holes on the back nine had left Casey well poised early on before he replaced Webb Simpson as the leader.

Simpson was five under through 14 holes, while Lee Westwood, Jon Rahm and Louis Oosthuizen were just a further stroke back alongside Woods.

Rahm dropped shots at two of his first three holes but made an impressive recovery, while tournament favourite Bryson DeChambeau - playing in the same group as the Spaniard - was one under having similarly rallied after double-bogeying the 13th.

Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka are among the big names due to go out later in the day and facing the prospect of having to return on Friday to complete their first rounds due to the miserable morning weather.

Tiger Woods is taking part in the Masters with the intention of retaining his title and will use the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer as inspiration.

Woods produced a remarkable display to end an 11-year wait for his 15th major title in last year's event at Augusta National.

He also won the Zozo Championship in October 2019 but has since struggled for form, finishing in a tie for 37th at the US PGA Championship and missing the cut at the U.S. Open.

Now just a month shy of his 45th birthday, Woods is not giving up on matching Nicklaus' record six Masters victories and will aim to use his advancing years to his benefit.

"Do I expect to contend? Yes, I do," he said at a pre-tournament news conference on Tuesday.

"You look at Freddie and Bernhard - they are in their 60s and they seem to contend. Jack contended here when he was, what, 58?

"It can be done. This is a golf course in which having an understanding of how to play and where to miss it and how to hit the shots, it helps.

"The golf course keeps getting longer, and it gets a little bit more difficult as I've got older and I don't quite hit it as far.

"When I first came here it was a lot of drivers and a lot of wedges. Now it's different and I'm hitting longer clubs into the holes but understanding how to play it definitely helps.

"That's one of the reasons why you see past champions, like I mentioned Freddie and Bernhard, to be able to contend so late in their careers, and hopefully I'll be one of those."

Woods has been grouped with Open champion Shane Lowry and U.S Amateur Championship winner Andy Ogletree for the first two rounds of his Masters defence.

Pre-tournament favourite Bryson DeChambeau will play alongside Louis Oosthuizen and Jon Rahm, who produced a remarkable hole-in-one in a practice session on Tuesday.

DeChambeau's incredible driving length is a hot topic of debate ahead of the rescheduled event and Woods was full of praise for the big-hitter.

"Bryson has put in the time, he has put in the work," Woods said. "What he's done in the gym has been incredible.

"What he's done on the range and what he's done with his entire team to be able to optimise that one club [driver] and transform his game and the ability to hit the ball as far as he has and in as short a span as he has, it's never been done before.

"I had speed in '97, I hit it far. As I got bigger and I filled out and tried to get stronger, it was to not hit the ball further. It was to be more consistent and to be able to practice longer.

"What Bryson has done has been absolutely incredible, and we have all been amazed at what he's been able to do in such a short span of time. It's never been done before."

DeChambeau is toying with using a 48-inch driver this week but accepts his chances of repeating his U.S. Open success at Augusta will not be solely down to how far he can hit the ball.

"I am not 100 per cent sure if I will put it in play yet because of the unknown, with it being so close to the Masters," he said.

"But if it is an improvement on every facet of launch conditions, then I don't see why not?

"I can hit it as far as I want to, but it comes down to putting and chipping. That is one of the things I think sometimes people struggle to see.

"If I don't putt it well at the U.S. Open, don't wedge it well, don't hit my irons close, I don't win that tournament."

Tiger Woods has been grouped with Shane Lowry and Andy Ogletree for the start of his Masters defence.

Fifteen-time major champion Woods will play with Open champion Lowry and, as is tradition at Augusta, the U.S. Amateur Championship winner Ogletree for the first two rounds.

The threesome will start from the 10th hole in the Thursday morning session and from the first tee on Friday in the second session.

Due to the tournament being rescheduled to November amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Masters is using a two-tee start with 11-minute intervals over the first two days to counter the reduced daylight.

Woods, 44, will be defending his title 19 months after his famous 2019 triumph.

U.S. Open champion and pre-tournament Masters favourite Bryson DeChambeau is another early starter as he plays alongside Jon Rahm and Louis Oosthuizen.

World number one Dustin Johnson will have Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay for company in another impressive grouping when they begin from the first tee in the afternoon.

Other later starters include US PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa, Adam Scott and Tyrrell Hatton, who has been tipped as a contender.

Two of the other top challengers, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas, are joined by Matt Fitzpatrick in another featured group.

The field has been reduced to 92 players after former winner Sergio Garcia, who tested positive for coronavirus, was one of four withdrawals.

Tiger Woods' competition at the Masters this year is too fierce for the defending champion to "flip a switch" and return to contention, according to Nick Faldo.

Woods ended an 11-year wait for his 15th major as he triumphed at Augusta last April.

The 44-year-old subsequently won the ZOZO Championship in October 2019 but has since struggled for form.

Battling back problems, Woods finished in a tie for 37th at this year's US PGA Championship and missed the cut at the 2020 U.S. Open.

Faldo, a three-time Masters champion, does not expect last year's Augusta winner to suddenly rediscover his best form this week.

"Unfortunately, things are just more difficult for Tiger," he said. "He's a little bit older and the back hasn't been good.

"His back rules his everything - golf and life, probably. It rules his practice - that's very important. He cannot stand and hit putts like he used to, he can't put the work in.

"He certainly hasn't put the competitive reps in and he hasn't had the results. Everything is a challenge this week, the weather conditions, a physical walk.

"The bottom line is it's an extremely difficult test for Tiger this week to rekindle that amazing magic from last year.

"Can you flip a switch and say, 'I'll just have the greatest emotional week of possibly my career', showing his children he could still be a champion?

"I don't believe he could flip the switch on that. There's too many good players. There's 10 guys or more who are very long hitters, which is going to be key."

That brought Faldo onto Bryson DeChambeau, the longest driver on the PGA Tour, who was joint-fourth at the US PGA and won the U.S. Open, his first major success.

DeChambeau is among the favourites for the Masters and Faldo said: "He is a completely different animal, literally right now. He's spearheading the whole distance debate.

"But I'm a fan of his. He's done it physically and he's applied the science."

Faldo is less optimistic of Rory McIlroy's chances of finally ending his wait for a career grand slam at Augusta, where there will be no patrons.

The absence of spectators this year amid the coronavirus pandemic has coincided with a tough run of form for McIlroy.

"Rory seems like he's been one of the players who's suffered from a lack of atmosphere," Faldo said. "Rory feeds off that.

"He hasn't played his best, hasn't managed to get completely on a fantastic run."

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