Masters behind him, Johnson ready to keep going in new year

Dustin Johnson can have long gone 53 days from tapping in for par to win the Masters through 5 photographs to blasting his tee shot down the hill at Kapalua towards the Pacific horizon.

A little bit rust is inevitable, even with being on Maui for greater than every week.

Motivation does not seem to be a subject.

“Motivation for me, it isn’t that arduous,” Johnson stated Wednesday on the Sentry Match of Champions, the place he has received two times. “I really like being the most efficient. I wish to proceed the great play and optimistically may have slightly bit higher yr.”

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That may be onerous to most sensible.

Even a yr shortened through the COVID-19 pandemic — Johnson neglected two tournaments when he examined certain — he was once so excellent over the past 5 months that he ended the yr with the most important margin at No. 1 on the planet in six years.

There may be additionally that inexperienced jacket from the Masters that Johnson has worn a couple of instances at house in Florida, as soon as for a company trip and all over again as a visitor on ESPN’s Faculty Recreation Day (he picked Coastal Carolina, his alma mater).

That was once his crowning fulfillment, a victory so significant to him that he could not communicate whilst wiping away tears. Johnson has the video of his file victory at Augusta Nationwide and nonetheless hasn’t watched it. Main points stay transparent, particularly as he is going shot-by-shot throughout the ultimate spherical.

No telling how he’ll react when he sees the emotion in his post-victory interview at the striking inexperienced at Augusta.

“Everybody that I have talked to or observed, clearly they truly appreciated it and so they stated it was once great to look that I did display some emotion, simply because I check out at the golfing route now not to take a look at to get too excited or too disappointed,” he stated.

To seem again past the Masters is similarly spectacular.

Johnson was once runner-up on the PGA Championship, shedding a one-shot lead at Harding Park to a last 64 through Collin Morikawa. He received The Northern Agree with through 10 photographs. He misplaced in a playoff on the BMW Championship to a 65-foot birdie putt through Jon Rahm. And he did sufficient on the Excursion Championship to assert the FedEx Cup for the primary time.

He has received or been runner-up in six of his final seven occasions.

Small surprise that swing trainer Butch Harmon says, “When he is enjoying his highest, he is the nearest factor to Tiger (Woods) when he is on. The adaptation is Tiger was once on for 20 years.”

Adam Scott additionally made any such reference, noting that it is an unfair comparability as a result of Woods did it for goodbye. Jason Day as soon as had seven victories in a span of 17 begins. Rory McIlroy had 3 wins — two of them in majors — and 3 runner-up finishes in 9 begins.

“It isn’t that straightforward to do,” Scott stated. “I handiest can listing a pair, and naturally then I will be able to recall to mind Tiger doing it for roughly 12 years. However he performed at that roughly Tiger same old for the final 5 months.”

What will get Johnson excited — now not that he would ever display it — is being at the Plantation Path at Kapalua to begin a brand new yr. He has neglected it just one time, in 2015 after his handiest winless yr since he joined the PGA Excursion in 2008.

Johnson spent a lot of final week down the coast in Makena to calm down and do some paintings. Since then, the regimen does not alternate. He can also be discovered at a picnic desk at the porch of the Honolua Retailer ahead of first light consuming breakfast together with his brother and caddie, Austin, and his supervisor.

He tees off because the solar is mountaineering and is finished enjoying whilst breakfast remains to be being served.

“The whole thing feels lovely identical,” Johnson stated. “Clearly, I am not slightly as sharp as I used to be most probably again at Augusta, however I’m seeing a large number of the similar shapes and I believe like I’m doing the whole thing lovely neatly, although I haven’t practiced an entire lot right here in recent times. However it is a excellent week. It is OK to be slightly bit rusty.”

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That is the biggest box he has observed at this event with 42 avid gamers. On account of the shortened season, somebody who made it to the Excursion Championship joined the 26 winners at Kapalua.

There is something a couple of new yr, particularly on Maui, that brings a mixture of hope and optimism. That does not essentially observe to Johnson.

“I do not have a large number of optimism,” he stated. “I am not hoping to play neatly. I be expecting to play neatly.”

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