Recapping Dustin Johnson's Dominant 2020 Masters Performance
Blog written by Perfect Practice.
The 2022 Masters is right around the corner, and thankfully, golf, along with most professional sports, has largely resumed pre-pandemic attendance levels. That's good news for today's elite competitors. After all, it's great to have an audience when you're able to put on a clinic at the world's most prestigious golf tournament.
Unfortunately for Dustin Johnson, who absolutely dominated the 2020 Masters field with superior driving and putting, no spectators were in attendance. Rather than being held in the traditional month of April, he played in a delayed tournament in November without the usual crowd. In fact, even TV viewership was down, as the schedule change meant that Dustin Johnson's Masters win was broadcast at the same time as many NFL games.
Despite the delay, Johnson more than earned his green jacket at Augusta National with a multiple record-setting performance. If you missed the 2020 Masters, let's recap Johnson's remarkable performance, which very well may go unmatched for years to come.
The 2020 Masters Was Loaded With Talent
You'd think that given the field of former green jacket holders competing in 2020, Johnson's win might not have been so dominant. The field included notable players like:
- Phil Mickelson
- Tiger Woods
- Jordan Spieth
- Vijay Singh
- Bubba Watson, and
- Brooks Koepka, among others.
Coming into the 2020 Masters, Johnson already had one major championship under his belt - the 2016 U.S. Open. In this stacked field, many of his competitors had won multiple majors. And competition aside, 2020 Masters invitees had to contend with an empty green. While spectators are deafeningly quiet when golfers swing or putt, they respond, mostly positively, before and after during a championship tournament. Many golfers feed off that positive energy, which, unfortunately, was missing in 2020.
How Dominant Was Dustin Johnson's 2020 Masters Win?
Despite the delay, tough playing field, and lack of spectators, Dustin Johnson played nearly flawlessly in the Masters, winning by a record-breaking 20-under 268 (the lowest Masters score ever).
His record-setting score was largely due to his consistency on the greens. Thanks to his elite practice equipment and determination to be the best, DJ put on a clinic with his putting performance. He was able to play the par 5s (11 under), the par 4s (5 under) and par 3s (4 under) to build and maintain a comfortable lead until the last hole.
Not only did his score set a 72-hole scoring record, eclipsing the previous 270 record shared by Tiger Woods (1997) and Jordan Spieth (2015). He also set or matched records during his dominant performance in the following categories:
- First and only Masters competitor to reach 20 under par. Jordan Spieth comes closest to this record, with 19 under in 2015.
One of two players to reach 16-under 200 in three Masters rounds. Johnson shares this record with Jordan Spieth, who originally set it in 2015.
Player with the most consecutive subpar Masters rounds. Johnson's 2020 performance, coupled with his four rounds in 2019, and the last three of 2018, gave him 11 consecutive subpar rounds. Tiger Woods previously held the record with ten consecutive subpar rounds between 2000 and 2002.
- 15th player to win while playing the par 3s, 4s, and 5s under par. Johnson joins a small group of champions who played consistently under par, the last being Charl Schwartzel, who won the Masters with a similar performance in 2011.
- Champion with a 71.02 stroke average, the lowest among those who've played 25 to 49 rounds. Johnson's record-setting 268 score lowered his stroke average to 71.02 over 38 rounds. No player with between 25 and 49 rounds has a lower average.
- 12th player to lead or be tied for the lead in each round. Maintaining a lead day-by-day is challenging, and few have been able to do it and close. But Johnson was able to join legends like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer by doing so.
- First and only champion to hit just four bogeys. Not only is it difficult to maintain a lead day after day, but it's difficult to do so and the mitigate mistakes at Augusta like Johnson did. Ben Crenshaw, Jimmy Demaret, Trevor Immelman, Phil Mickelson, and Jack Nicklaus shared the previous record of five bogeys.
Truly, Johnson put on a golf clinic over four days of play. And while he was not as masterful the following year, his near-flawless performance in 2020 makes him an odds-on-favorite for the foreseeable future.
How Did Johnson Win In Such a Dominant Fashion?
Awarded the green jacket by Tiger Woods himself, Johnson attributes some of his success to driving the ball. "Distance control; I drove it pretty well," he's quoted as saying in The Augusta Chronicle. "That's the biggest thing, I really drove it well that week."
While that's certainly true, his putting was also spectacular. He was eighth in putts per green in regulation, but he was also perfect on all of them within five feet (practice makes perfect). And to seal his victory and score, he nailed three birdies in a row on the 13th through 15th holes. To do so, he sank crisp putts from distances of 13, 7, and 6 feet, respectively.
To achieve this top form, Johnson practices relentlessly. His swing coach, Claude Harmon, has said that Johnson's practice sessions typically last between an hour and a half to two hours, with 80 percent of the time focused on short game and wedges. Harmon also noted he spends significant time practicing driving the ball.
For casual and amateur golfers, as well as aspiring pros, Johnson's routine bears consideration. Though Johnson is certainly a skilled driver, his Masters performance arguably owed more to his short game. And while the driving range can be a great stress reliever, golfers of all levels are well-served by spending hours practicing their putting, whether on the greens or a well-crafted putting mat.
Check out the video below where Johnson discusses using his Perfect Practice putting mat to help calm his nerves on Sunday Morning of the 2020 Masters!
Where Does Johnson Go From Here?
Despite a disappointing finish in the 2021 Masters, many believe 2022 may be the year for another Dustin Johnson Masters win. This April, Johnson may pick up another green jacket at the Augusta National Golf Club, given his distance control, putting performance, and work ethic. And though Dustin Johnson's stats in 2020 are truly remarkable, it also wouldn't be a surprise if the 2020 Masters champion set new records this year. Stay tuned.
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