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AUGUSTA, Ga. — It’s a fair bet that when Bryson DeChambeau schemed out all the possible permutations of how his 2020 Masters experience would go, he didn’t factor either sudden illness or a ball lost in plain sight into the mix.
And yet, both happened, and they combined to put the pre-tournament favorite right on the cut line. It’s a steep fall for a guy who’d announced his intention to take apart Augusta National with his driver. After a rocky first 29 holes, DeChambeau appeared to find his footing, birdieing four of five holes to get well on the good side of the cut line. But then he immediately gave back two, bogeying his final two holes of the second round to stumble to the clubhouse.
Some of DeChambeau’s struggles have come from bad luck, some are self-inflicted, and some might be the result of something more.
“I was feeling something a little weird two nights ago,” DeChambeau said after finishing his second round Saturday morning, “and I came out [Friday] and was fine for the most part. As I kept going through the round, I started getting a little dizzy. I don't know what was going on, a little something weird.”
Everyone currently on the course at Augusta National, from players to the few onlookers, must take a COVID test prior to entering. Even so, there’s always the worry that some infection might sneak through, and that was enough to get DeChambeau’s formidable mind wondering. He took a COVID test, which came back negative, but the dizziness persisted.
“Every time I'd bend over and come back up, I'd like lose my stance a little bit,” he said. “So I don't know what's going on.”
Beyond that, there was just the simple matter of bad luck. Speaking on Saturday morning, DeChambeau shook his head at his Friday afternoon misfortune, when he lost a ball right in the second cut alongside the third hole. It should have been easy to locate, but after three minutes, DeChambeau and everyone else kicking their way through the second cut couldn’t locate the ball. The result: a return to the third tee and an eventual triple-bogey 7.
And then the twist of the knife: “Definitely throws you for a loop when the guy goes and gives you the ball on the fourth tee box: ‘Oh, I found it,’” DeChambeau said.
At the moment DeChambeau walked off the course, he was one stroke to the dark side of the cut line, but the line moved over the next few minutes to allow DeChambeau to skate in on the number. He’ll play the rest of the weekend, but he’ll hold onto the lessons of this week far beyond Sunday.
“You can't control everything,” DeChambeau said, perhaps as much to himself as the world, “as much as you try.”
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him with tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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