Dustin Johnson captures 84th Masters, and second career major championship

Fits Like a Glove--Defending champion Tiger Woods places the green jacket on 2020 winner Dustin Johnson.
The victory marks Johnson’s second major championship and first Masters.

Courtesy of Golf Channel

Fits Like a Glove–Defending champion Tiger Woods places the green jacket on 2020 winner Dustin Johnson. The victory marks Johnson’s second major championship and first Masters.

EJ Sanchez, Staff Writer

The playing of the annual Masters Tournament is traditionally during the second week of April. However due to the implications of COVID-19, the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) enforced a three month hiatus discontinuing the season from mid March until June. The significant schedule change forced the typical sequence of golf ’s four major championships to be altered, resulting in the cancellation of the British Open and the inauguration of a fall Masters. Both players and patrons alike were intrigued to view Augusta National under fall foliage and patron-less grandstands however, the anticipation and excitement surrounding golf ’s most recognizable tournament were still present in 2020.

Potential favorites to capture the green jacket included the two previous major champions from 2020. The 23 year old Collin Morikawa was this year’s PGA Champion, as the long hitting “mad scientist” Bryson DeChambeau captured the U.S Open at Winged Foot Golf Club. Defending champion Tiger Woods was marked as a notable, in addition to the world’s top five players.

Round one of the Masters began on November 12. The traditional starters of six time champion Jack Nicklaus and three time winner Gary Player. The twosome teed off at 6:30am, the event was suspended due to inclement weather just 30 minutes after. The rain delay postponed round one for more than two and a half hours, restricting the possibility of all players finishing due to lack of daylight. After all players had completed their round on Friday morning, England’s Paul Casey and South Africa’s Dylan Fritelli were both atop the leaderboard firing 65 (-7) in addition to world number one Dustin Johnson. Woods posted his strongest ever Masters start with a four under par 68, notables Rory McIlroy and DeChambeau both stumbled on a day of good scoring, failing to break par. After the conclusion of the second round, the leaderboard displayed a large amount of familiar names. It was the first time in Masters history that the world number one (Johnson), two (Jon Rahm) and three (Justin Thomas) were all tied for the lead heading into the weekend. Two younger players also joined the trio at the top of the board, as Australia’s Cameron Smith and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer both stood at 135 (-8). Both Casey and Fritelli could not capitalize on their fast start, as they shot 74 (+2) and 73 (+1) respectively.

Moving day at the Masters was able to rekindle some of the traditional energy that is present on the grounds of Augusta National. Saturday’s round is the “make or break’’ for some, as a frontrunner usually emerges. Both Ancer and Smith were able to confront the nerves present when playing in contention on the weekend at Augusta. Both players posted a solid score of three under par and posted -12 for three rounds. To no one’s surprise Johnson was able to produce another strong ball striking performance and ride a hot putter to an impressive -5, 67. He finished the round at -16 four shots clear of his nearest competitors.

The anticipation surrounding the final round of the 2020 Masters could have been the most expressed in tournament history. Combine the impact of COVID-19, jeopardizing the ability to play, and the delay of the tournament until November. All sporting fans were anxious to see who would become the 84th Masters champion and dawn the famed green jacket. The pressure finally seemed to get to the young Ancer, as he shot four over par and dropped to 13th. After struggling Saturday, Justin Thomas was able to bounce back with a final round 70. Thomas finished at 12 under par and solo fourth for the tournament. Smith was able to maintain his rhythm on Sunday, shooting three-under par and finishing second at -15, tied with South Korea’s Sungjae Im. Multiple young talents were able to display their skills at Augusta in 2020 and despite not winning a green jacket they have demonstrated their ability to perform one of golf ’s largest stages.

With a closing 68 (-4) Johnson was able to capture his first Masters title and second career major championship. Johnson’s play since the restart has been nothing short of impressive, as he earned three wins. The first of which being at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, CT. His second two titles in 2020 were both a part of the PGA tour playoffs, by capturing both the Northern Trust and the TOUR Championship Johnson was able to net an impressive $17 million. With a winning score of -20, a new Masters total was set. Johnson eclipsed both Woods and Jordan Spieth who shot -18 for the tournament. On the 18 green, Johnson and his brother Austin shared an emotional moment as the reality of the victory.

“Honestly, it still feels like a dream,” Johnson told the Associated Press. “As a kid, dreaming about winning and having Tiger put the green jacket on you, it still seems like it’s a dream, but I’m here and what a great feeling it is and I couldn’t be more excited.”