For over a decade, Dustin Johnson’s chase for major championship glory was tinged with disappointment and bad luck.
A two-shot penalty cost him a place in the 2010 PGA Championship play-offs and he subsequently finished in a tie for fifth.
Five years later, he three-putted on the 18th hole to gift Jordan Spieth a one-shot victory at the 2015 US Open.
During his 2016 US Open triumph, he overcame a controversial penalty to win by three-strokes at Oakmont.
Hours before his first round at the 2017 Masters, the pre-tournament favourite withdrew after slipping down the stairs at his rental home near Augusta.
Among his other near-misses was a tie for second behind Tiger Woods at last year’s Masters and a share of second at the PGA Championship in August.
For a man who is brilliance and consistency personified, he held an unfortunate major record of blowing a lead or share of the lead after 54-holes on four occasions.
However on Sunday, the 36-year-old, who grew up 75 miles away from Augusta in South Carolina, ended that unwanted record to dominate the field and secure a five-stroke victory at the Masters.
Johnson played like the number one player in the world, his Masters scoring record of 20-under par every bit as comfortable as the figure suggests.
It’s a victory and major that now separates the Florida resident from the pack of nearly 150 golfers with one major crown and propels him into the precious list of multiple-major winners.
For a decorated professional who pairs his excellence with consistency, slipping on the iconic green jacket for the first time on Sunday evening was thoroughly deserved.
Johnson’s only wobbles came early in the fourth round, missed par puts at 4th and 5th holes reduced his lead from four at the start of the day to just one stroke.
A historic Sunday for DJ.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 16, 2020
✅ 24th win
✅ 2nd major
✅ Masters scoring record
✅ 26th on all-time wins list
✅ 14th straight season with a win
✅ 1st World No. 1 to win the Masters since 2002 https://t.co/fjvugOaIk2
However, birdies at 6 and 8 meant he established a three-shot advantage heading into the back nine.
Further birdies at 13, 14 and 15 increased his lead, with nearest pursuers Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im now five shots adrift. Nobody could catch him.
When Johnson is on form, there is no one better in world golf. He’s always been a great player with his powerful drives, razor-sharp iron play and improved putting stroke.
His immaculate ball-striking was on show over the four days at Augusta, hitting 83.33 per cent of greens in regulation over the 72 holes.
The two-time major winner recorded the fewest bogeys out of any winner and netted the largest margin of victory at the Masters since Woods in 1997.
Johnson’s Masters triumph caps off a stunning year on a personal level, marking the fifth time in his last seven Tour starts that he held the 54-hole lead/co-lead. A run which saw him clinch the Northern Trust in August and Tour Championship to seal the FedEx Cup one month later.
He lost on the first play-off hole against Jon Rahm at the BMW Championship and finished second at the PGA Championship plus Houston Open. Other sizzling results to underline his immense consistency.
Of course, it’s arguable that nobody remembers who places second or third but to string together those formidable results against an elite field on a consistent basis is incredible.
While other players tend to fade every other week, DJ keeps on giving himself chances. Always backing it up with little fuss and making fewer mistakes than the rest of the field.
The numbers prove this with more wins on Tour (24) than any other player since 2008. On the major front, he has averaged at least one top-10 in a major every year – bar 2017 – dating back to 2009.
As Sunday evening set in, Woods placed the prestigious green jacket on Johnson’s chiselled shoulders. His second major win and hopefully a glimmer of what is to come in future years.
He’s as good as we’ve seen in the modern era and Sunday’s victory will only enhance his belief and drive for more success going forward.