‘I always dreamed of having one of those,’ Dustin Johnson told Bubba Watson on the 18th green on Sunday. His emotional reflection on a record-breaking victory imitated a golfing legend in the making, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
The 84th Masters’ champion was lost for words after securing his second Major title at what would have been a loud and vocal Augusta National on Sunday under normal circumstances.
Patrons or not, the world No 1 showed over the past four days just why he is at the summit of the Official World Golf Rankings.
His preparations cut short due to being infected with Covid-19, Johnson headed into Georgia last week with his back slightly against the ball.
His three-week recovery derailed almost all his plans to sharpen up, not to mention that he has dark past of choking in the final round of the Major.
‘It was a battle all day, an internal battle with myself,’ said Johnson with huge relief.
‘I proved that I can get it done on Sunday with the lead at a Major, especially in tough conditions. I felt like it was tricky out there today. There were doubts in my mind because I had been there. I’m in this position a lot. It was like, “When am I going to have the lead and finish off a Major?’”
Chambers Bay and Royal Portrush are just a few examples of where Johnson fell short on previous Major occasions. After a slow start in Sunday’s final round, dark thoughts of those failures undoubtedly reappeared in his mind.
But, the sheer determination and consistency that Johnson displayed this whole year meant he certainly had ways of recovering.
A four-under-par 68 had Johnson surging to 20 under par – the lowest-ever score at any point in Masters history.
‘I dream of winning a lot of Majors. Just hadn’t quite happened yet. Hopefully this one will help, though, give me a little spring,’ he added.
‘The first Major’s the hardest, but then I would say the second one is just as hard. They’re all difficult to win. It’s just hard to get it done in a Major for some reason.
‘So, it’s very nice to have a lead and then play well on Sunday and get the win. I couldn’t be more happy and I think I look pretty good in green, too.’
Backed by his brother, Austin, on the bag, Johnson’s memories of winning the Green Jacket one day while growing up only an hour away from Augusta, symbolised the perseverance and commitment that is currently shaping the best player in the world.
The occasion, flushed with all the emotion of what he had achieved, was rich reward for all the effort the 36-year-old has put in over his career.
‘It’s unbelievable having my brother on my bag. I just love experiencing all these moments with him. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
‘Having Tiger put it on was awesome and unbelievable. You wouldn’t want it any other way,’ Johnson said. ‘But any guy could put it on me and I’d be just fine,’ concluded Johnson.