For part of the year the drama was whether the Masters would even happen in 2020. And World No. 1 Dustin Johnson didn’t really add any drama to the tournament—played in November instead of April because of Covid-19—by basically running away with the Green Jacket, holding the lead—or at least a share of it—for the final three rounds.
It is the second major championship for Johnson, who won the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont. He finished the final round at 4-under for a score of 20-under par. The four-round mark set a new scoring record for the tournament, bettering a previous mark by Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth, and matches the lowest score at a major championship, tying Jason Day and Henrik Stenson.
Johnson has had plenty of other chances at majors—at the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship and the British Open—with many of those opportunities being derailed by questionable shots during final rounds. Now 36, Johnson has learned a great deal, and with a solid lead heading into the final round, he took few risks and made few missteps. Consecutive birdies on 13 through 15 cemented the win, putting Johnson five shots ahead of Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im, who finished at 15-under.
“I knew I had to put the pressure on early,” said Smith. “But DJ was just too good.”
With soft conditions unlike what is normally expected during April, when the tournament is traditionally played, Johnson said his comfort level was high throughout the week. “I would say the game is in good form right now,” Johnson said. “It is very consistent. I feel I have a lot of control over what I’m doing. I’m very comfortable standing over the golf ball right now and that’s a very good feeling.”
Four Canadians—Mike Weir, Corey Conners, Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin—started the tournament on Thursday. Hadwin missed the cut but Taylor, Weir and Conners made it to the weekend. Weir, who won the tournament in 2003, made the cut for the first time since 2014. Weir, who made the cut just under the number, struggled in the final round, shooting 4-over and dropping down the leaderboard. He finished 51st.
Taylor had an up-and-down final round to finish 3-under par. The Abbotsford, BC native, who won earlier this year at Pebble Beach, finished in 29th-place.
It was Conners, from Listowel, Ont., who was the standout. Conners shot 7-under 65 in the second round to vault up the leaderboard, and birdied two of the last three holes on Sunday to move into the top 10. Conners’ 65 was the lowest round ever by a Canadian at the Masters. A top 10 finish gave Conners a spot in the Masters in April.
Cameron Smith (T2 15-under)—The Australian had a unique accomplishment—recording four rounds under 70, and not winning the tournament. Though not immediately recognizable to every golf fan, Smith has crept into the Top 50 in the world, and did finish T5 in 2018 at the Masters. He had the opportunity to challenge Johnson on the front nine on Sunday, but never really was a legitimate threat.
Sungjae Im (T2 15-under) —The 2019 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Im previously is best known in Canada for having pro golfer Albin Choi on his bag as caddie. Choi isn’t caddying for Im any longer, but that didn’t hold the Masters rookie back. While he never really challenged Johnson on the back nine, Im’s performance during his first time at the Masters turned a lot of heads.
Rory McIlroy (T5 11-under)—An opening round of 75 made it appear that the Irishman might struggle to get to the weekend. But he rebounded with rounds of 66, 67 and 69 to jump into the Top 10, finishing fifth-place. It appeared he might make a run on the front nine, but a par on the par-5 15th dashed any hope he might fight his way from the back of the pack on Thursday to the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.
Tiger Woods (T38 1-under) —The defending champion, Woods had a solid first round, but never found much success for the remainder of the week. The wheels officially came off on the 12th hole in the final round when Woods found the water three times on the par 3—twice off the tee and once from the back bunker—to record a 7-over 10. When it looked like he was entirely spent, Woods then rattled off five birdies in the next six holes to finish at 4-over 76 in 38th-place.
What’s in the Bag?
Driver: TaylorMade SIM, 10.5 degree
Fairway woods: TaylorMade SIM Max 15.0° & TaylorMade SIM Max 21.0°
Irons: TaylorMade P730 3-PW
Putter: Spider Tour IB Limited
Golf Ball: TaylorMade TP5X #1