Dustin Johnson paints a by-the-numbers Masters-piece

Dustin Johnson went the place nobody on the Masters — no longer even Tiger Woods — had long past sooner than, posting a 20 underneath ranking to win through 5 pictures and lock up his 2d main

Breaking the scoring file was once on his thoughts, as a result of, in fact it was once. Dustin Johnson sought after it, too. He simply hadn’t troubled to appear the quantity up.

“It was once 19 (underneath) sooner than?” Johnson requested a Masters legit to his proper within the interview room past due Sunday afternoon. That they had on equivalent inexperienced jackets.

Instructed it was once 18 underneath (shared through Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth), Johnson flashed a shy grin. His expression infrequently provides a lot away; his solutions appear designed to deflect consideration. A second later, Johnson admitted that he hadn’t checked out a scoreboard all day, both.

No longer after shaky back-to-back bogeys at Nos. three and four peeled his four-shot lead again to 1; nor after 3 directly birdies at the again 9 left Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im, Johnson’s remaining two pursuers, within the mud. He didn’t see the wish to complicate issues.

“I didn’t need it to impact the best way I performed,” Johnson stated. “I simply didn’t have a look at it. I took what the path gave me and hit the pictures I felt I may hit.”

Coming down 18, even though, he in spite of everything gave in. Johnson became to his brother Austin, who comfortably doubles as his caddie, and requested the place he stood.

“I advised him he had a five-shot lead,” Austin recalled. “I may kick it in from there. He had no clue.”

Johnson finished the climb to No. 1 on this planet the primary time in 2017 and stayed there for the easier a part of the 3 years since. He’d gained two times already this 12 months and nonetheless held that lofty spot when he arrived at Augusta, having already spent just about two weeks in quarantine after trying out sure for the coronavirus besides. If any person had a storyline that ran directly thru this peculiar, pandemic-disrupted season, it was once Johnson.

But no one was once happier when the pre-tournament highlight fascinated about Tiger Woods’ possibilities of reprising his implausible 2019 win, and bulked-up Bryson DeChambeau’s grand plan to carve up Augusta Nationwide the best way he sliced and diced Winged Foot on the U.S. Open. Predictably most likely, each have been previous information by the point Johnson stretched out to a four-shot lead heading into the general spherical.

That transfer introduced Johnson’s haunting previous on the majors again to the fore. In his lone triumph, the 2016 U.S. Open, he got here from 4 pictures at the back of at the ultimate day to win. On 4 different events, Johnson had no less than a percentage of the lead after 54 holes and didn’t money in. Even though you wouldn’t have recognized through gazing him play — no less than after the ones early bogeys — the suspense was once taking its toll on him, too.

Johnson stored the true wonder, because it became out, for later on. In a post-match interview on CBS, Amanda Balionis attempted a number of occasions to get Johnson to provide an explanation for what in spite of everything slipping at the inexperienced jacket intended. Each time he attempted to reply to, Johnson choked up, preventing again tears.

“I’m sorry,” he stated apologizing greater than as soon as. “It’s onerous to speak. I’ve by no means this a lot hassle accumulating myself.”

No longer on a golfing path, most likely, as a result of throughout the ropes, Johnson knew the place he was once headed. However at age 36, he once more confronted the query of whether or not all that skill could be sufficient when it mattered maximum, and in spite of everything spoke back it through proving how a lot it mattered to him.

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