Will the floodgates open for DJ?
Newspaper and website coverage of Dustin Johnson's record-breaking Masters victory seems to suggest we might as well ignore next year's Masters. There can only be one winner: Johnson. His demolition of the 84th Masters seems sure of that. It also seems set to open the floodgates to more major wins.
Not so fast. We’ve been here before.
Rory McIlroy looked set to race to double figures in major wins when he won the 2014 Open Championship and backed it up with victory in the subsequent PGA Championship. Six years later and he’s still waiting to get to major number five, never mind number 10.
Brooks Koepka looked the epitome of perfection in racing to four major wins in the space of three years with back to back U.S. Open and PGA Championship victories. Hard to imagine we’d reach the conclusion of the 2020 season without Koepka adding another major trophy to his cabinet.
Would we seriously have thought we’d get to 2020 without Jordan Spieth winning another of the marquee events after what he did between 2015-2017?
We can add other players who racked up multiple major wins in brief periods. How about Nick Price? Padraig Harrington? Curtis Strange? I could go on.
Tiger Woods knows a thing or three about winning majors, so it pays to listen to what he has to say.
“DJ is a tremendous athlete," Woods said. "He also has an amazing ability to stay calm in tough moments, and in order to win this event, and we all know as past champions how hard it is, the emotions we have to deal with out there. There’s no one more suited to that than DJ.”
True, Johnson’s ability to bounce back from consecutive bogeys at the fourth and fifth holes in the final round to romp to a five-shot victory was impressive. But wasn’t that one of Harrington’s great traits, too? After all, Padraig survived a double bogey at Carnoustie’s 18th hole but went on to defeat Sergio Garcia in a playoff for the 2007 Open Championship.
McIlroy, as always, graciously applauded Johnson’s win:
“Dustin’s been knocking on the door so long, and since coming out of lockdown in June, he has been by far the best player in the world,” McIlroy said.
“This validates what he did at Oakmont (when he won the 2016 U.S. Open). I played with him the first two days here and he’s got the ball on a string. It is impressive.”
It was, but Johnson’s record before yesterday showed four 54-hole leads in majors without winning. Will he get the job done on his sixth attempt, or seventh?
I agree it’s hard to see Johnson not adding to his tally of two major wins. He’s the man of the moment right now. His worst showing in his last seven events was sixth in the U.S. Open, a run that features victory in the Northern Trust, and three seconds including the PGA Championship. There can be no arguing with his tag as the world’s number one player.
Yet, as we’ve seen so often, this is a fickle game. There’s no guarantee Johnson will have the same magic come April. We await the 85th Masters with much anticipation. It will be interesting to see if the major floodgates open for the 36 year old. What will his tally be when the sun sets on his career?
#JustSaying: “I’m playing better now than I ever have in my career. I don’t know what’s happened, but I’m not going to search for the answer.” Ray Floyd