Two things were missing from this weekend’s Masters: fans and drama.
Dustin Johnson took care of the latter as he tapped in for par on the 18th for a 4-under 68 to finish at 20-under 268, breaking by 2 shots the record set by Tiger Woods in 1997 and matched by Jordan Spieth in 2015.
Johnson’s 5-shot victory — his first at Augusta — was the largest at the Masters since Woods won by 12 in his record-breaking win in 1997. All that was missing were the roars from the gallery for any of his successful early putts, and his birdie putts on the back nine that secured the victory.
The Masters, postponed from April because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was forced to do without patrons for the first time. Johnson still received a warm reception coming up the 18th from club members and their wives, his partner, Paulina Gretzky, and a few champions.
Two-time champion Bubba Watson was there to congratulate the new champion.
“I always dreamed of having one of those,” Johnson said of the famed Green Jacket. “Now I got one.”
His 4-shot lead was reduced to 1 after five holes, and then he quickly restored control. Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im each shot 69 and were the only ones who really had a chance.
Smith got quite the consolation. He became the first player in Masters history to post all four rounds in the 60s, and all it got him was a second-place finish. Johnson became the 12th Masters champion to never trail after any round, and his closing 68 broke another record held by Woods — it was his 11th consecutive sub-par round for Johnson at Augusta National.
No one had a better finish than Woods, the defending champion, but only after the five-time Masters champion posted the highest score of his career on the par-3 12th hole. Woods hit three balls into Rae’s Creek for a 10. He finished with five birdies over the last six holes to salvage a 76.
— Gerry Fall