With the scores so low through the first two rounds, the Masters committeemen decided to do what they could to toughen up the layout. And because the greens were not as fast as they sometimes are, the only thing left was to put the flagsticks in Macon and Milledgeville and Atlanta and Savannah. All this did was make the course so difficult that Floyd could manage nothing better than a modest two-under-par 70 and stretch his lead to the eight strokes he eventually would win by.
There was only one moment of torture for him. It came at the difficult par-5 13th (see page 22), where he had a fine opportunity to allow the gang to get a little closer to him. Here he faced a second shot that called for thought and consideration, the ball sitting in a bare lie, about 10 inches above his feet, and the carry requiring about 220 yards, if he chose not to lay up short of the creek. But Floyd had this five-wood he had started carrying a few weeks earlier. Whether it was a wise choice or not, he hit the five-wood, flirting with all the dangers of the 13th hole, and got it over the horrors and into a bunker. And from there he hit a beautiful sand shot to within two feet of the cup for another one of his many birdies on the par-5s.
On Saturday night Floyd said, "I don't think there's anyone here who would bet against me now."
He was certainly right.
Hubert Green said, "I just want to get his autograph."
Tom Weiskopf said, "When you're putting like Raymond, it makes you totally fearless."
Jack Nicklaus said, "Didn't he make a double bogey and gain ground?"
He almost had. On Saturday Floyd suffered a six at the 11th hole, but it came at a time when everybody in the city of Augusta was making a bogey or worse.
And Ben Crenshaw said, "If you throw out Raymond, we're playing a heck of a Masters."
There may have been those among the thousands who assemble every year in Augusta who felt that Sunday's final 18 would be stocked with suspense. There were those who might have thought that Floyd was perfectly capable of shooting a 75, for example, while Nicklaus, who only trailed him by eight shots, after all, would do his usual wonderful 66 and win his sixth Masters by a tingling stroke.