Dustin Johnson cried. Really, he cried. Standing on the 18th green at Augusta National after running away with the 2020 Masters championship, adorned in a new green jacket, Johnson — known for being one of the most stoic players on the PGA Tour — found it difficult to express himself during a TV interview.
He didn’t have any difficulties expressing himself on the course.
A wire-to-wire winner by five shots, Johnson overcame all that was unusual about this year’s Masters and rolled to another major championship, the one he admitted he has dreamed of winning since he was a youngster.
Later, in the media interview session, Johnson began warming to the idea his dream had become reality.
“I look pretty good in green,” he said.
He looked darn good all week long, truth be told. He used his accurate and lengthy tee shots to set up short iron shots into receptive greens, then made putts right up to the lag putt and tap-in on No. 18 on Sunday.
In a most unusual Masters, the steadiest guy on the PGA Tour — the No. 1-ranked player in the world — took on Augusta National and a talented field and won convincingly. He took a four-shot lead into Sunday’s final round and won by five despite some early challenges. When it appeared someone might make a run, Johnson made another birdie and kept himself ahead of the crowd by maintaining his laser-like focus.
He shot 20-under, a new tournament record. Tiger Woods, the previous owner of the lowest round in Masters competition (along with Jordan Spieth), helped Johnson into his new green jacket.
He may serve as Masters champion for a shorter period of time than anyone, as plans are for the 2021 tournament to be played on its usual date in April. Then again, there are no guarantees that will be the case. And if Johnson continues to play as he has, he may just win another green jacket. Or two. Or more.
Johnson made himself the story in what was perhaps the most unusual Masters tournament ever played. Consider …
Scientific-minded Bryson DeChambeau entered the week as the tournament favorite, based on his booming drives, but he couldn’t control said drives, even losing one tee shot that led to a lost ball, a re-tee and a triple bogey. He was never a factor.
Young Cameron Smith became the first player to shoot in the 60s for all four rounds, and yet he found himself five shots behind Johnson at the end.
Tiger Woods carded a 10 on No. 12 on Sunday, dropping three shots in Rae’s Creek. He followed the 10 by making birdie on five of his six final holes and finished the tournament at 1-under, 19 shots back. Interestingly, Woods needed 19 shots to complete the first three holes on the back nine on Sunday and just 20 strokes to finish out the final six.
At one time early in the tournament, Johnson, as the world’s top-ranked player, was tied for the lead along with No. 2-ranked Jon Rahm and No 3-ranked Justin Thomas, along with others. Thomas finished in fourth place at 12-under and Rahm tied for seventh at 10-under.
Bernhard Langer, at age 63, not only made the cut but finished at 3-under and tied for 29th; as a comparison, DeChambeau was 2-under and tied for 34th.
There were no grandstands and no patrons at the tournament because of COVID-19 precautions, though limited family members and club members were allowed to attend. Hence, there were none of the usual roars echoing around the course when a player made a move. There was a fall look to the course, which is traditionally dressed in dogwoods and azaleas and of course all the green that surrounds Augusta National.
And still, it was every bit the Masters, a tournament requiring consistent play, crowning the player who best controlled all aspects of their game — driving (accuracy as well as distance), iron play (placing approach shots in the right spots) and putting (fast greens require a deft touch). Dustin Johnson had all of that and more. And he has the green jacket (and tears) to prove it.
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