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Masters 2020 Dustin fashions statement winWorld No. 1 earns first Augusta title in record style, proves to himself he can close out a lead
Tiger Woods putting the green jacket on fellow American Dustin Johnson after the 36-year-old broke the 72-hole Masters record of 270 previously held by Jordan Spieth and him.
AUGUSTA • For 10 years, Dustin Johnson’s chase for career-defining Major titles was tinged with ruthless angst, misfortune and calamitous setbacks.
He grounded a club in an unobserved bunker at the 2010 PGA Championship to earn a heartless penalty that bounced him from a play-off for the victory.
Five years later at the US Open, a three-putt on the final hole cost him another Major play-off berth.
Riding a hot streak that made him the prohibitive favourite at the Masters three years ago, Johnson slipped on the stairs at his rental house on the event’s eve and withdrew with a back injury.
Even as he won the 2016 US Open, he was saddled with the ignominy of a penalty assessed after his celebration on the final hole.
But on Sunday, with verve and nerve, Johnson comfortably secured the validating breakthrough achievement he has long sought with a runaway five-stroke victory at the Masters.
His final-round, four-under 68 for a total of 20-under 268 broke the 72-hole Masters record of 270 previously held by Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth.
South Korean debutant Im Sung-jae (69) and Australia’s Cameron Smith (69) tied for second on 15-under 273.
Winning here separates the American, one of golf’s most talented players, from the gaggle of nearly 150 golfers with one Major and brightens the path to the game’s pantheon of heroes.
The 36-year-old hopes to find his way there.
Dustin Johnson’s winning score of 20-under 268 broke the tournament scoring record by two shots.
Majors won with a winning score of 18 under or lower. Tiger Woods owns five of them.
Of 72 greens found by Johnson, tied for the most in Masters history alongside Woods en route to his 2001 victory.
Johnson’s bogeys in the tournament, the fewest ever made by a Masters champion.
Johnson is the first world No. 1 to win the Masters since Woods in 2002.
“It feels good to get past one Major, especially when the second one is the Masters, which I always dreamed of winning as a kid,” said Johnson, who grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, an hour’s drive from Augusta National.
“I dream of winning a lot of Majors. Hopefully, this one will help give me a little spring.”
There were doubts. I’m in this position a lot of times – like when am I going to finish off the golf tournament or finish off a Major? This definitely proved that I can do it.
His peers like Englishman Luke Donald congratulated him on Twitter, saying: “Happy for DJ, he’s a beast not only off the tee but on the greens.
“Winning is tough and if you’d have watched some major golf media outlets, quite a few doubted his chances, glad he crushed it today.”
Celebrities, including musicians Niall Horan and Kid Rock, also hailed his win, with the latter joking that “I smell a party in Jupiter, Florida tonight!”.
Johnson’s victory also concluded a bizarrely atypical Masters, which was postponed to November from its customary spot in April because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the final Major of the year.
An event known for its traditions, the 84th Masters was contested for the first time without fans, who are normally an essential part of the visual and auditory experience.
Augusta National was so quiet that only the chatter between player and caddie rose above the chirping birds and the final round, a theatrical staple, was held four hours earlier than its standard time to account for the diminished amount of sunlight in the fall.
But the circumstances did not vex the world’s top-ranked player.
“I know 2020 has been a really strange year,” said Johnson, who caught Covid-19 last month and was quarantined for nearly two weeks with mild symptoms. “But it’s been good to me.”
This was his first victory after holding the 54-hole lead in a Major, having failed in four previous instances, including in August when he tied for second at the PGA Championship.
He conceded that not being able to close out the lead in a Major had begun to weigh on him but believes that a weight has now been lifted off his mind.
“There were doubts,” he said. “I’m in this position a lot of times – like when am I going to finish off the golf tournament or finish off a Major? This definitely proved that I can do it.”
The Masters victory caps off a brilliant year for Johnson, who won four PGA Tour events and was second or tied for second three other times and crowned the PGA Tour Player of the Year.
Asked if there was any special meaning to have Woods, last year’s winner and 15-time Major champion, drape the green jacket over his shoulders, Johnson said: “Yes. Having Tiger put the green jacket on you, it still feels like a dream. But any guy could put it on me and I’d be just fine.”
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