A look at Dustin Johnson’s record-breaking 2020 Masters

Every so often, a golfer puts in a display that is so memorable it defines the rest of their career. Whether it be Tiger Woods bursting onto the scene over two decades ago now as a 21-year-old in the Masters, or Henrik Stenson’s special 2016 Open Championship, a fantastic performance can be exactly what a golfer needs to get their foot in their door or, indeed, cement their legacy in the history books. The last couple of Masters tournaments have been massively affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but unlike some sports, the golfing world hasn’t let the absence of a crowd overshadow the good work going on in Augusta, Georgia. A full capacity course is expected to be in attendance this year, and while the it’s still hard to predict who will reign supreme in the latest golf betting, there is certainly a chance the two winners during the pandemic are within a shout — Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama.

As impressive as Matsuyama’s win was, becoming the first Asian golfer to win at the Masters, what Johnson achieved was perhaps once in a lifetime. He won the tournament in record-breaking fashion, not letting either Cameron Smith or Sungjae Im get anywhere near him. It was a remarkable weekend in Augusta and one that will live long in the memory. Even though it’s relatively recent it’s still just as impressive to look back at how Dustin Johnson dominated the 2020 Masters.

With the tournament usually running in late March and early April, the lockdown periods led to many believing the Masters would be cancelled entirely for the year. Information on the pandemic was still relatively knew but from a sports perspective, most events had either been postponed or cancelled. It would take until May for some to get going again, with increased safety measures and no fans allowed in any capacity.

Eventually the Masters was scheduled for November and the wheels got in motion for the tournament, but Augusta certainly had a different feel about it. Gone was that optimism of spring, replaced by uncertainty caused by covid and the windier, but still sunny conditions of the late autumn weather.

However, neither seemed to faze Johnson, who was walking into the best course of his career. Heading into the Masters, talk about Johnson’s chances were less than expected. A lot of attention was on reigning champion Tiger Woods, who picked up a fifth green jacket in dramatic style the year before. Bryson DeChambeau was the leading favourite, with Johnson second, while Masters stalwarts like Phil Mickelson still had an outside chance of causing an upset. Johnson was certainly not short of confidence despite so much competition.

He was riding the crest of a wave having won the Travelers Championship and Northern Trust before heading to Augusta, and you could tell from his fast start what his intentions were. He won the tournament with a record score of 20-under-par, a clear five strokes ahead of both Smith and Sungjae Im. Even after capturing his first Masters, Johnson looked composed as ever.

“It’s hard. I was nervous all day. I could feel it,” he said.” The Masters is for me the biggest tournament and the one I wanted to win the most. I am just very proud of the way I handled myself and finished off the tournament.

“It still feels like a dream. As a kid, I was dreaming about winning the Masters and having Tiger put the Green Jacket on you still feels like a dream.”

“But I am here and what a great feeling it is. I could not feel more excited.”

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