AUGUSTA, Ga. – Before last week’s Vivint Houston Open, the PGA Tour had been playing without fans since its return to competition in June. But Sunday’s final round at the Masters will be where the relative silence will be most evident.
The Sunday roars at Augusta National are part of Masters lore, with players able to tell what happened on a specific hole without even looking at a leaderboard.
That won’t be the case on Sunday.
“I think it's a really big deal there's no patrons here,” said Justin Thomas, who pulled to within two strokes of front-runner Dustin Johnson before making four bogeys over his last seven holes. “That would have really played to my advantage or other guys trying to chase DJ.”
There are different schools of thought on how the lack of fans and atmosphere impact different players. Some say the scene favors players with less experience since they don’t feel the pressure that comes with trying to win a major championship with thousands of patrons cheering.
Thomas, however, said it would be Johnson who will benefit without patrons since he won’t have to hear the roars as players make runs at him on the back nine.
“It makes it harder when you can hear the birdies and eagles and putts being made,” said Thomas, who is in sixth place and six shots off the lead. “Unfortunately, that won't be the case tomorrow, but there's nothing I can do about that.”