Former champion Danny Willett admits he is tempted to accelerate his planned return to full-time action following an impressive comeback in the Masters.

Willett had feared he would be sidelined for at least a year following shoulder surgery in September last year but recovered sufficiently to return to the scene of his 2016 triumph and carded a superb opening 68.

The 36-year-old was also level par for 17 holes in extremely difficult conditions in Friday’s second round before an untimely triple bogey on the 18th, but comfortably made the halfway cut and went on to finish in a tie for 45th along with defending champion Jon Rahm.

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“Mentally it’s been really tough this week and maybe a little bit of that came in towards the end,” Willett told the PA news agency.

“But the body feels good, shoulder feels really strong so now I’ve got another seven weeks off to go and do the work that we need to do to progress before we come back properly.

“If you said at the start of the week that you’re going to have some really good spells and you’d finish 45th you’d have probably taken it, so there’s some good things to work on.

“The 68 in the first round was fantastic and the last couple of days could have been three or four shots better without being crazy.

“We played with two guys who won this year on the PGA Tour [Austin Eckroat and Stephan Jaeger] and we weren’t sure how it’s going to be but you come in and you don’t feel like you’re leaps and bounds behind them.”

Asked if he was now tempted to add tournaments to his schedule, Willett added: “It is tempting, it’s really tempting but my manager’s going to speak to the guys and see what happens with the medical stuff.

“They’ve always told me to not come back too early because you don’t really gain anything in terms of your medical exemptions and things like that.

“There’s still no rush. The main plan was the European Open in Hamburg in seven weeks.

“That’s the only one I’m entered into and I don’t think there’s any reason to compete before that unless I feel a burning desire or Nic [wife Nicole] kicks me out of the house because I’ve been home too long.”

Scottie Scheffler has hailed the influence of English putting guru Phil Kenyon after claiming his second Masters title in the last three years.

Scheffler compiled one of the best ball-striking seasons ever seen in 2023, his adjusted scoring average of 68.63 being the seventh-lowest in PGA Tour history and the best by anyone not named Tiger Woods.

In total Scheffler was ranked first in nine different categories, including greens in regulation and strokes gained off the tee, but was ranked 162nd out of 193 players in putting.

That prompted the world number one to turn to Kenyon for help and the move has paid massive dividends, with Scheffler winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship in successive weeks and finishing second in his next start before travelling to Augusta.

“After East Lake last year, ride home on the plane, sitting there talking to Blake [Smith, his agent] and we kind of look at each other, and I think we both were thinking the same thing,” the 27-year-old American explained following his nerveless four-shot Masters win over Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg.

“And we both looked at each other, and I was like, ‘You know, I want to see a putting coach’. Blake goes, ‘I think that’s a good idea. Let’s talk to Randy [Smith, his coach].

“I had watched Phil before and watched him coach players. When you’re out here as long as I’ve been, I just see stuff, and I loved the way Phil coached his players.

“You look at a guy like Fitzy [Matt Fitzpatrick] who lines up his putts and uses a putter that has a lot of swing to it, and you look at a guy like Keegan Bradley, doesn’t use a line on the ball, uses a big giant putter cross-handed, and he putts good.

“As I watched Phil, I could tell that he was open-minded, and that’s the type of people I like to work with. And we kind of hit the ground running in the fall.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the decision that Randy also made to be open-minded, not take an ego to it, sit there, watch us work, watch Phil do his thing.

“Phil is also a guy that doesn’t have a big ego. He just wants what’s best for his players. I’m really, really fortunate to have those two guys as part of my team.

“Randy had taught me for almost 20 years every single aspect of the game. And so for me to have to bring in somebody else could have been a shot to his ego and he may not have wanted me to do it.

“But Randy sat there and he said, ‘You know what, I think it’s the right time’. We called Phil and about a week later he came in, had a visit. We worked for a couple days, and, yeah, now we’re here.”

Another key member of Scheffler’s team is caddie Ted Scott, who formerly worked for two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson.

“Ted, it’s going to be hard to catch up with you on all these Masters titles if you keep working for me,” Scheffler joked during the green jacket presentation ceremony.

The pair had met in a bible study class on the PGA Tour and Scheffler and Watson played together in the Zurich Classic team event before Watson and Scott parted ways.

“When he called me I had no idea he was that good,” Scott said.

“We were his partner in New Orleans. I was like, yeah, he’s a good player, and he’s a great guy. I’d love to hang out with him. After two weeks, I was like, this guy is really good. Now it’s like, wow, is he really good. I’m surprised too.

“I’m just pinching myself honestly. I don’t really know what I’m seeing. The guy is special. He’s a different kind of special. I think we’re all seeing it, and we’re all questioning where did this come from?

“I think discipline is a word that comes to mind. I’ve heard stories that when he was seven years old he would show up at the golf course wearing pants [trousers], talking about he’s going to be on the PGA Tour.

“And he just does all the little things well, and he does them consistently. He doesn’t skip. He doesn’t miss a day. He has that mentality of like ‘I’m going somewhere with all this, I’m actually doing it for a reason’.

“Then when he gets in a moment, he’s got all the tools.”

Scottie Scheffler warned his rivals he has no plans to take his eye off the ball after securing his second Masters title in three years.

Scheffler carded a closing 68 at Augusta National to finish four shots ahead of Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg and has now won three of his last four events and finished runner-up in the other.

The world number one’s thoughts immediately turned to getting home as soon as possible to his wife Meredith, who is pregnant with their first child, but he also intends to keep challenging for the game’s biggest titles.

“I’m coming home, I’ll be home as quick as I can,” Scheffler said when asked if he had a message for his wife.

“I wish I could soak this in a little bit more but all I can think about is getting home. It’s a very, very special time for both of us.

“I can’t put into words what it means to win this tournament again and really can’t put into words what it’s going to be like to be a father for the first time.

“I definitely will enjoy the birth of my first child, and my priorities will change very soon, so golf will be fourth in line, but I still love competing.

“I don’t plan on taking my eye off the ball any time soon.”

Aberg threatened to become the first player to win the Masters on their debut since 1979 when he held a share of the lead following a birdie on the ninth, only to run up a double bogey on the 11th after pulling his approach into the water.

The 24-year-old responded superbly and birdied the 13th and 14th to keep the pressure on, only for Scheffler to pick up shots on the same holes.

“I think there’s a lot of things that we did very well this week, especially today, because I came out and I was very nervous, obviously,” Aberg, who only turned professional 10 months ago, said.

“I was shaking a little bit on the first tee. Those are all things that I really enjoy doing. We said that it’s a privilege to be able to hit all these shots out here, and it’s a privilege to be in this position.

“Obviously we knew that hitting it in the water on 11 wasn’t ideal, but we also just kept playing. That’s what me and my caddie Joe [Skovron] and our team has been trying to work on. Just keep playing no matter what happens.

“I think we did that very well and it just showed that we stuck to what we did, and it ended up being pretty okay anyways.

“It shows we’re doing a lot of good stuff, and obviously, finishing well in the Masters is a dream come true. Just playing here has been such a privilege, and I’m super proud of myself and the team and all the work that we’re doing.”

Scottie Scheffler warned his rivals he has no plans to take his eye off the ball after securing his second Masters title in three years.

Scheffler carded a closing 68 at Augusta National to finish four shots ahead of Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg and has now won three of his last four events and finished runner-up in the other.

The world number one’s thoughts immediately turned to getting home as soon as possible to his wife Meredith, who is pregnant with their first child, but he also intends to keep challenging for the game’s biggest titles.

“I’m coming home; I’ll be home as quick as I can,” Scheffler said when asked if he had a message for his wife.

“I wish I could soak this in a little bit more, but all I can think about is getting home. It’s a very, very special time for both of us.

“I can’t put into words what it means to win this tournament again and really can’t put into words what it’s going to be like to be a father for the first time.

“I definitely will enjoy the birth of my first child, and my priorities will change very soon, so golf will be fourth in line, but I still love competing.

“I don’t plan on taking my eye off the ball any time soon.”

Shot of the day

Scheffler was tied for the lead with Collin Morikawa when he produced a brilliantly judged approach to the ninth to set up the second of three birdies in a row.

Statistic of the day

Top statistician Justin Ray highlights Scheffler’s superb form in 2024.

Quote of the day

“I’m coming home. I’ll be home as quick as I can” – Scheffler’s message to his wife Meredith, who is pregnant with the couple’s first child.

Hardest hole

For the first time all week, the 17th played as the hardest hole, a solitary birdie, 19 bogeys and three double bogeys leading to a scoring average of 4.40.

Easiest hole

The par-five second hole appeared to be played from a forward tee, and it was no surprise that it yielded four eagles, 27 birdies, and just four bogeys for a scoring average of 4.483.

When is the next major?

The 106th US PGA Championship will take place at Valhalla Golf Club, the scene of Rory McIlroy’s last major victory in 2014, from May 16-19.

Scottie Scheffler fully justified his status as pre-tournament favourite with a nerveless second Masters title in the space of three years at Augusta National.

The world number one carded a closing 68 to finish 11 under par and four shots clear of Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg, with England’s Tommy Fleetwood, two-time major winner Collin Morikawa and Max Homa three strokes further back.

Scheffler held his nerve as his rivals stumbled around Amen Corner and responded magnificently when Aberg kept the pressure on, the 24-year-old again demonstrating his enormous potential on his major debut.

Aberg only turned professional in June last year, but quickly won on the DP World Tour, helped Europe regain the Ryder Cup in Rome – including a 9&7 win with Viktor Hovland over Scheffler and Brooks Koepka – and also tasted victory on the PGA Tour before the end of the season.

Scheffler has been in equally brilliant form in 2024, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational by five shots and becoming the first player to secure back-to-back Players Championship titles seven days later.

That meant the 27-year-old had been made favourite for the Masters at the the kind of odds previously only offered for peak-era Tiger Woods and he duly took a one-shot lead into the final round.

A birdie on the third quickly doubled that advantage, but dropped shots on the fourth and seventh left Scheffler in a three-way tie for the lead with playing partner Morikawa and Aberg.

Homa’s birdie on the eighth made it a four-way tie, but dramatic and decisive changes were just around the corner.

Scheffler was inches away from spinning his approach to the ninth into the hole for an eagle and tapped in for the easiest of birdies, while Morikawa took two to escape from a greenside bunker to run up a double bogey.

Scheffler also birdied the 10th and was gifted some welcome breathing space when Aberg pulled his second to the 11th into the water to card a costly double bogey, an error repeated minutes later by Morikawa.

Scheffler failed to take full advantage as he also dropped a shot, but then saw another contender fall away as Homa was forced to take a penalty drop from bushes behind the 12th green.

Aberg refused to throw in the towel and birdied the 13th and 14th to seemingly keep the pressure on, only for the unflappable Scheffler to birdie the same holes, his approach to the 14th spinning down to tap-in range.

Another birdie on the 16th put the result beyond doubt and unlike in 2022, this time there would be no careless four putts on the 18th green.

Woods had finished his round an hour before the final pairing of Scheffler and Morikawa teed off, his 100th round at the Masters beginning after enlisting the help of his son Charlie.

Charlie was pictured seemingly giving his dad some swing tips on the practice range at Augusta National, advice even a 15-time major champion may have welcomed following a demoralising third round of 82.

That was the 48-year-old’s worst score in the Masters by four shots and meant an early tee time on Sunday alongside Neal Shipley, the only amateur to make the cut.

Woods started in style with a 360-yard drive on the par-five second to help set up a straightforward birdie, but ran up a triple bogey seven on the fifth and eventually signed for a 77 to finish last of the 60 players to make the cut.

Woods had previously targeted playing one tournament a month this year, with the remaining majors – the US PGA, US Open and Open Championship – the obvious targets.

“This is a golf course I knew going into it so I’ve got to do my homework going forward at Valhalla and Pinehurst and Troon, but that’s kind of the game-plan,” Woods said.

“I heard there were some changes at the next couple of sites so I’ve got to get up there early and check them out.”

Rory McIlroy carded a closing 73 to finish in a tie for 22nd on his 10th attempt to complete the career grand slam, with defending champion Jon Rahm a distant 45th following a final round of 76.

Tiger Woods immediately switched his focus to the season’s remaining majors after enlisting the help of his son Charlie before his 100th round in the Masters.

Charlie was pictured seemingly giving his dad some swing tips on the practice range at Augusta National, advice even a 15-time major champion may have welcomed following a demoralising third round of 82.

That was the 48-year-old’s worst score in the Masters by four shots and meant an early tee time on Sunday alongside Neal Shipley, the only amateur to make the cut.

Woods started in style with a 360-yard drive on the par-five second to help set up a straightforward birdie, but bogeyed the third after his chip from short of the green failed to climb the steep slope and rolled back to his feet.

Worse was soon to come on the fifth as a wild drive into the trees resulted in an unplayable lie and meant Woods had to be driven back to the tee to hit another ball, leading to a triple-bogey seven.

Another bogey on the sixth and three subsequent pars took Woods to the turn in 40, the same score he opened with in 1997 before covering the back nine in 30 on his way to a 12-shot win.

It was also five shots worse than playing partner Shipley, but Woods typically refused to throw in the towel and covered the back nine in 37 to return a closing 77.

Woods had previously targeted playing one tournament a month this year, with the remaining majors – the US PGA, US Open and Open Championship – the obvious targets.

“This is a golf course I knew going into it so I’ve got to do my homework going forward at Valhalla and Pinehurst and Troon, but that’s kind of the game-plan,” Woods said.

“I heard there were some changes at the next couple of sites so I’ve got to get up there early and check them out.”

Despite finishing last of the 60 players to make the weekend, Woods did at least make a record 24th consecutive cut and insisted: “It was a good week all around.

“I think that coming in not having played a full tournament in a very long time it was a good fight Thursday and Friday, unfortunately yesterday didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted to.

“It doesn’t take much to get out of position here. Unfortunately, I got out of position a lot yesterday and a couple times today.

“Today, the round that Tom (Kim, who shot 66) is playing is what I thought I had in my system and I just didn’t produce it.”

Woods finished his round an hour before the final pairing of Scottie Scheffler and Collin Morikawa teed off, Scheffler having birdied the 18th in Saturday’s third round to hold a one-shot lead over the two-time major champion.

A birdie on the third briefly doubled Scheffler’s advantage, but the world number one promptly bogeyed the next after misjudging the wind and failing to get up and down from over the green.

Scheffler was also unable to save par from a bunker on the seventh and fell back into a four-way tie for the lead with Morikawa, Max Homa and Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg, who had birdied the second and seventh to continue his hugely impressive major championship debut.

Tiger Woods enlisted the help of his son Charlie before carding a battling 77 in his 100th round in the Masters.

Charlie was pictured seemingly giving his dad some swing advice on the practice range at Augusta National, advice he may even have welcomed following a demoralising third round of 82.

That was the five-time champion’s worst score in the Masters by four shots and meant an early tee time on Sunday alongside Neal Shipley, the only amateur to make the cut.

Woods started in style with a 360-yard drive on the par-five second to help set up a straightforward birdie, but bogeyed the third after his chip from short of the green failed to climb the steep slope and rolled back to his feet.

Worse was soon to come on the fifth as a wild drive into the trees meant Woods had to return to the tee to hit another ball and, after finding the green with his fourth shot, he compounded the error by three-putting for a triple-bogey seven.

Another bogey on the sixth and three subsequent pars took Woods to the turn in 40, the same score he opened with in 1997 before covering the back nine in 30 on his way to a 12-shot win.

It was also five shots worse than playing partner Shipley, but Woods typically refused to throw in the towel and covered the back nine in 37 with eight pars and a solitary bogey on the 15th.

“It was a good week all around,” Woods insisted.

“I think that coming in not having played a full tournament in a very long time it was a good fight Thursday and Friday, unfortunately yesterday didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted to.

“It doesn’t take much to get out of position here. Unfortunately, I got out of position a lot yesterday and a couple times today.

“Today, the round that Tom (Kim, who shot 66) is playing is what I thought I had in my system and I just didn’t produce it.”

Woods had previously targeted playing one tournament a month this year, with the remaining majors – the US PGA, US Open and Open Championship – the obvious targets.

“This is a golf course I knew going into it so I’ve got to do my homework going forward at Pinehurst and Valhalla and Troon but that’s kind of the game plan,” Woods said.

“I heard there were some changes at the next couple of sites so I’ve got to get up there early and check them out.”

Woods finished his round an hour before the final pairing of Scottie Scheffler and Collin Morikawa were due to tee off, Scheffler having birdied the 18th in Saturday’s third round to hole a one-shot lead over the two-time major champion.

Fellow American Max Homa was two shots off the lead, with Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg another stroke back and Bryson DeChambeau four adrift of Scheffler after holing his approach to the 18th from 77 yards on Saturday for an unlikely birdie.

History suggested the winner would be one of those five players, with the last 27 winners of the green jacket being within four shots of the lead after 54 holes.

Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg vowed to embrace his opportunity to make history in what promised to be a thrilling final round of the 88th Masters.

Aberg is making his major championship debut at Augusta National after only turning professional in June, but went into the last 18 holes just three shots off the lead held by world number one Scottie Scheffler.

No player has won the Masters in their first major start, while Fuzzy Zoeller was the last player to win a green jacket on their tournament debut in 1979.

“I think about it all the time. I’m OK thinking about it,” Aberg said after a third round of 70.

“Obviously I’m a competitor and I want to win tournaments. I feel very fortunate to be in this position and to be here playing golf.

“I don’t think you should shy away from it. I don’t think you should try to push it away. I try to embrace it, and I try to be okay with all that comes with it, I guess.”

Scheffler birdied the 18th in round three to claim a one-shot lead over Collin Morikawa, who would just be a US Open victory away from completing a career grand slam if he triumphs on Sunday.

Max Homa was two shots off the pace following a 73 containing 17 pars and one bogey, with Aberg another stroke back and Bryson DeChambeau four off the lead after a remarkable birdie on the last.

Shot of the day

Bryson DeChambeau was staring at a bogey and six-shot deficit before holing out from 77 yards for an unlikely birdie on the 18th.

Statistic of the day

Top statistician Justin Ray suggests the winner will be one of Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Max Homa, Ludvig Aberg or Bryson DeChambeau.

Quote of the day

Max Homa readies himself for a Sunday scrap at Augusta.

Hardest hole

Despite Bryson DeChambeau’s last-minute heroics, the 18th played as the hardest hole thanks to a fiendish hole location. A total of five birdies, 18 bogeys and six double bogeys resulted in a scoring average of 4.467.

Easiest hole

The eighth hole reclaimed its crown as the easiest hole from the second, yielding 27 birdies and just two bogeys for an average of 4.617.

Key tee times (all BST)

1435 Neal Shipley, Tiger Woods
1845 Cameron Young, Tommy Fleetwood
1905 Cameron Davis, Nicolai Hojgaard
1915 Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele
1925 Max Homa, Ludvig Aberg
1935 Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa

Weather forecast

Mostly sunny skies and above normal temperatures are forecast for Sunday and Monday with highs in the mid to upper 80s. The wind will remain light out of the southwest and likely average 7-15 mph each day.

A day after setting a tournament record in the Masters, Tiger Woods suffered an unwanted milestone at Augusta National.

Woods insisted he could challenge for a 16th major title after playing 23 holes on Friday to make a record 24th consecutive cut, but slumped to a third round of 82 instead.

The 48-year-old’s previous worst scores both came in 2022, when he shot 78 in both the third and fourth rounds.

Woods followed a bogey on the fourth with a superb birdie on the difficult fifth, but then bogeyed the sixth and ran up a double bogey on the seventh.

The 15-time major winner also made a double bogey on the par-five eighth for the first time in his career and dropped another shot on the ninth in a front nine of 42.

Woods made five more bogeys and a birdie on the 13th in a back nine of 40 in what was his 99th round in the Masters.

Jason Day has revealed that he was asked to remove his sleeveless jumper by tournament officials during the second day’s play at Augusta National.

Day’s striking top attracted plenty of attention on social media and also, it appears, from tournament officials.

“Yeah, they asked me to take it off, the vest off yesterday,” Day said after his third round on Saturday.

“Respectfully, you do that because it’s all about the tournament here, and I understand that. I respect the tournament. That’s what we’re here to do is try and play and win the green jacket.”

Asked if he had been given a specific reason for the request, such as the Malbon logo and text being too big, Day added: “I don’t know. I didn’t ask.

“They said, can you take it off? I said, yeah, no worries.”

Day also had no problem with jokes about the dangers of wearing very baggy trousers on an extremely windy day, admitting: “Yeah, if it’s down breeze these things puff up pretty quick.”

Defending champion Jon Rahm admitted he had a “sour feeling” at remaining a frustrated also-ran on day three of the 88th Masters at Augusta National.

Rahm had insisted his competitive edge had not been dulled by his move to LIV Golf ahead of his attempt to become just the fourth player to win back-to-back Masters titles.

The Spaniard’s shock move to the Saudi-backed breakaway came after he had previously pledged his loyalty to the PGA Tour and criticised LIV’s 54-hole format, with no cut and a shotgun start as “not a golf tournament”.

The two-time major winner has failed to win any of the five LIV events he has played to date, but travelled to Augusta on the back of finishing fourth in Miami on Sunday and winning the team event at Doral.

However, the Ryder Cup star was never a factor in the year’s first major and added a third round of 72 on Saturday to remain five over par after previous scores of 73 and 76.

“Yesterday was terrible,” Rahm conceded. “Today I kept in in play off the tee, which is going to do a lot. Didn’t really make any putts, did I? Gave myself plenty of chances, just didn’t make them.

“Luckily made the one on 17 to have the only birdie of the day – I had a few really good chances on three, four, five and eight, just none of them wanted to go in.

“Those first two days it’s just too hard of conditions to not have your swing. Being a little lost and not being under control of what was going on makes it so much harder.

“Had to play very defensively and try to pick my spots and just couldn’t put myself in a good position coming into today. I think if you came out today and somehow shot 67 or lower, maybe you could give yourself a little bit of hope.

“But it’s a hard golf course out there. Anything under par is a good round. Anything in the 60s is a fantastic round today.”

As defending champion Rahm will be required to hand over a green jacket to the winner on Sunday and added: “Yeah, I mean, worst case I’ll be a part of the ceremony. I’ll be there.

“I’m guessing it will be a little different (to last year). Bit of a sour feeling knowing you’re not in contention.”

Rahm’s successor as Masters champion will earn USD 3.6million (£2.89m) on Sunday, up by USD 360,000 (£289,000) from last year, after tournament officials announced the overall prize fund had been increased from USD 18m (£14.4m) to USD 20m (£16m).

Rory McIlroy will not be presented with a green jacket by his Ryder Cup team-mate after failing to play his way back into contention on Saturday, the world number two returning a 71 to improve to three over par.

McIlroy at least fared better than Tiger Woods, who had refused to give up hope of an unlikely sixth Masters title after making a record 24th consecutive halfway cut to lie seven shots off the lead.

After following a bogey on the fourth with a superb birdie on the difficult fifth, Woods three-putted the next and ran up double bogeys on the seventh and eighth to slide further down the leaderboard.

It is the first time in his career that Woods has taken seven on the par-five eighth.

Defending champion Jon Rahm remained a frustrated also-ran on day three of the 88th Masters at Augusta National.

Rahm had insisted his competitive edge had not been dulled by his move to LIV Golf ahead of his attempt to become just the fourth player to win back-to-back Masters titles.

The Spaniard’s shock move to the Saudi-backed breakaway came after he had previously pledged his loyalty to the PGA Tour and criticised LIV’s 54-hole format, with no cut and a shotgun start as “not a golf tournament”.

The two-time major winner has failed to win any of the five LIV events he has played to date, but travelled to Augusta on the back of finishing fourth in Miami on Sunday and winning the team event at Doral.

However, the Ryder Cup star was never a factor in the year’s first major and added a third round of 72 on Saturday to remain five over par after previous scores of 73 and 76.

That 76 had been compiled in fiendishly difficult conditions on Friday, with winds gusting up to 40mph sending scores soaring and leaving Rahm querying whether play should have been suspended.

“A couple of times I was questioning myself why we were out there, especially when I got to 18 and saw the whole front of the green just full of sand,” Rahm said after his round.

“I can imagine they were very close to calling it a few times, especially when we were on 11 green and we were getting those massive gusts every couple of minutes or so. It was extremely difficult.

“Not only that, how long did it take us to play? Over six hours to play just because they had to blow the greens in between groups.”

Rahm’s successor as Masters champion will earn USD 3.6million (£2.89m) on Sunday, up by USD 360,000 (£289,000) from last year, after tournament officials announced the overall prize fund had been increased from USD 18m (£14.4m) to USD 20m (£16m).

Rory McIlroy will not be presented with a green jacket by his Ryder Cup team-mate after failing to play his way back into contention on Saturday, the world number two quickly giving himself more work to do with a bogey on the first.

A birdie on the par-five second repaired the damage before McIlroy three-putted the sixth and missed from five feet for birdie on the next, although he did convert from the same distance on the par-five eighth.

Tiger Woods had also refused to give up hope of an unlikely sixth Masters title after making a record 24th consecutive halfway cut to lie seven shots off the lead.

However, after a superb birdie on the difficult fifth, Woods three-putted the next and ran up a double bogey on the seventh to slide further down the leaderboard.

Rory McIlroy bemoaned the woeful pace of play after seeing his bid for a career grand slam blown off course on day two of the Masters.

McIlroy’s birdie-free second round of 77 took an incredible six hours and two minutes to complete alongside Xander Schauffele and Scottie Scheffler, the world number one’s 72 giving him a share of the halfway lead with Max Homa and Bryson DeChambeau on six under par.

McIlroy, who slumped to four over, said: “Tough day, really tough day.

“Just hard to make a score and just sort of trying to make as many pars as possible. I felt like I did okay. I made that bogey on 14, and even just to par the last four holes and get in the clubhouse and have a tee time tomorrow, I’m sort of pretty happy with.”

Asked about the pace of play, McIlroy said: “It felt long, yeah. Especially that 11th hole, it felt like it took an hour to play that hole.

“It was stop and start, hard to get into a rhythm with the conditions and obviously how slow the play was as well.”

He continued: “I won from 10 back [at halfway] in Dubai at the start of the year, but obviously the Dubai Desert Classic and the Masters are two very different golf tournaments.

“We’ll see. Hopefully the conditions are a little better tomorrow. Yeah, I still think I can go out tomorrow and shoot a low one, get back into red numbers, and have half a chance going into Sunday.”

Rory McIlroy admitted he faced an uphill task to play his way back into contention as Tiger Woods remained focused on an unlikely Masters triumph.

McIlroy struggled to a birdie-free second round of 77 at a windswept Augusta National to fall 10 shots off the lead shared by world number one Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa and Bryson DeChambeau.

Woods was three shots closer to the leaders after a battling 72 saw him make a record 24th consecutive cut in the Masters, with the whole field separated by 12 shots after the cut fell at six over par.

McIlroy said: “I won from 10 back [at halfway] in Dubai at the start of the year, but obviously the Dubai Desert Classic and the Masters are two very different golf tournaments.

“We’ll see. Hopefully the conditions are a little better. I still think I can go out and shoot a low one, get back into red numbers, and have half a chance going into Sunday.”

Woods sounded more optimistic than McIlroy when asked to assess his position.

“It means I have a chance to win the golf tournament,” Woods said.

“I’m right there. It’s really bunched. The way the ball is moving on the greens, chip shots are being blown, it’s all you want in a golf course.”

Shot of the day

Former champion Danny Willett holed his approach to the eighth for an eagle.

Statistic of the day

Top statistician Justin Ray highlights the tough task for the chasing pack.

Quote of the day

“You can be made to look like an idiot out there today by not doing too much wrong” – Shane Lowry on the difficulty presented by the strong, swirling winds.

Hardest hole

The 11th played as the hardest hole for the second day running with just one birdie, 30 bogeys and 10 double bogeys leading to a scoring average of 4.494.
Easiest hole

The par-five second hole was the easiest, yielding one eagle, 42 birdies and just six bogeys for a scoring average of 4.607.

Key tee times (all BST)

1555 Rory McIlroy, Camilo Villegas
1745 Tiger Woods, Tyrrell Hatton
1915 Ludvig Aberg, Matthieu Pavon
1935 Scottie Scheffler, Nicolai Hojgaard
1945 Max Homa, Bryson DeChambeau

Weather forecast

Mostly sunny with temperatures set to reach the mid-70s. A few wind gusts to 20mph may occur between 12-5pm. Mostly sunny and warmer on Sunday, with the temperature climbing into the mid-80s.

Tiger Woods refused to give up on his dream of a 16th major title after making a record 24th consecutive cut in the Masters on another windswept day at Augusta National.

Woods completed 23 holes in more than seven hours on the course on Friday, a remarkable effort from the injury-ravaged 48-year-old which prompted a standing ovation from the spectators around the 18th green.

The five-time Masters champion had to shield his face from sand whipped from the bunkers on the last before tapping in to complete a second round of 72 for a halfway total of one over par.

That left Woods seven shots off the lead shared by playing partner Max Homa, world number one Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau, who could only add a 73 to his opening 65.

“It means I have a chance to win the golf tournament,” Woods said.

“I’m right there. I don’t think anyone is going to run off and hide right now, but it’s really bunched. The way the ball is moving on the greens, chip shots are being blown, it’s all you want in a golf course today.”

Asked about his 24th consecutive cut, Woods – who had shared the record of 23 with Freddie Couples and Gary Player – said: “I’ve always loved playing here.

“I’ve been able to play here since I was 19 years old. It’s one of the honours I don’t take lightly, being able to compete.

“The years I have missed, I wish I was able to play because there’s such an aura and mystique about playing this golf course that, unless you have played and competed here, you probably don’t really appreciate.”

Woods was one of 27 players unable to complete their first rounds on Thursday following a lengthy weather delay, the 15-time major winner covering his first 13 holes in one under par.

Play resumed at 0750 local time (1250BST) on Friday and Woods bogeyed the 14th and 18th to complete a 73 which left him with just 49 minutes to rest, refuel or practise before he got his second round got under way.

A rollercoaster front nine consisted of three pars, three bogeys and three birdies, including a superb chip-in on the sixth, with a more sedate back nine adding up to a battling 72.

“It’s been a long day,” Woods said with a smile. “It was a good fight.”

Asked what it was like playing alongside Woods after adding a 71 to his opening 67, Homa said: “It was awesome. It really is a dream to get to play with him here.

“I always wanted to just watch him hit iron shots around here, and I was right up next to him. It was really cool.

“His short game was so good. I don’t think I can explain how good some of the chip shots he hit today were.

“He’s special. We had a really quick turnaround, and if I was feeling tired and awful, I imagine he was feeling even worse.

“And on 18, we had sandblasts for 45 seconds, and I turned around five times so I didn’t get crushed in the face, and he’s standing there like a statue and then poured it right in the middle.

“So all the cliches you hear about him and all the old stories about how he will grind it out, it was fun to see that in person.”

With winds gusting up to 42mph, the pace of play was funereal and the penultimate group of Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele took six hours and two minutes to complete 18 holes.

Scheffler added a 72 to his opening 66 and Schauffele returned a second consecutive 72 to remain level par, but McIlroy struggled to a birdie-free 77 to slump to four over.

Defending champion Jon Rahm was a stroke further back following a 76, with the cut falling at six over to allow two-time winner Jose Maria Olazabal to make the weekend at the age of 58.

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