Dustin Johnson says he has realised his dream by clinching Masters green jacket
Dustin Johnson woke up on Monday morning hoping his Masters triumph had not been a dream following his record-breaking exploits at Augusta National.
Johnson recovered from a somewhat shaky start to card a final round of 68 and win his second major title by five shots from Australia’s Cameron Smith and South Korea’s Sungjae Im.
The world number one’s winning total of 20 under par set a new tournament record, beating the previous best of 18 under set by Tiger Woods in 1997 and equalled by Jordan Spieth in 2015.
And as the defending champion, Woods was on hand to present Johnson with his green jacket in the traditional ceremony in the Butler Cabin.
“Always around the putting green growing up, it was putts to win the Masters,” Johnson said. “It was always to win at Augusta, especially because I grew up so close to here, about an hour, hour and 10 minutes away.
“As a kid you dream of playing in the Masters and dream about putting on a green jacket. Still kind of think it’s a dream, but hopefully it’s not.
“Obviously having Tiger put it on was awesome and unbelievable and you wouldn’t want it any other way. But any guy could put it on me and I’d be just fine!”
Johnson took a four-shot lead into the final round but saw that reduced to a single stroke after playing the first five holes in one over par while Smith and Im picked up two early birdies.
However, he responded well to birdie the sixth and eighth and a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th sealed a commanding victory to go with his 2016 US Open success.
“It’s always tough to get it done in a major,” added Johnson, who had failed to convert any of his four previous 54-hole leads into major victories.
“No matter how good you’re playing it’s hard. I was nervous all day, I could feel it.
“The Masters to me is the biggest tournament. It’s the one I wanted to win the most. I’m just very proud of the way I handled myself and the way I finished off the golf tournament.”
Johnson shared the triumph with his brother and caddie Austin, adding: “It’s an unbelievable feeling to experience all this with my brother.
“He’s been a big help being on my bag. I love him being on my bag and I wouldn’t want anyone else there. To share all these memories and moments with him is incredible.
“I had to jab him a little on 18 because he was tearing up, made me tear up. I’ve still got to finish this off, I can’t be crying. It was a lot of fun, I will remember this for the rest of my life.”
‘Is this where I am going to die?’ Nicolas Colsaerts on kidney disorder battle
The Belgian is the focus of attention this week as he belatedly defends the Cazoo Open de France title he won three years ago.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe team
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Open champion Cameron Smith wins first LIV trophy in just second start
The world number two is the highest-ranked player to join the rebel series.
Robert MacIntyre beats Matt Fitzpatrick in play-off to win Italian Open
MacIntyre birdied the first extra hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Matt Fitzpatrick holds narrow lead ahead of final round at Italian Open
Rory McIlroy and Aaron Rai are one shot off the pace.
Rory McIlroy picks up the pace to claim lead ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in Rome
McIlroy’s group looked unlikely to complete their second rounds after taking three hours to play nine holes.
Matt Fitzpatrick leads way at Italian Open despite ‘inconsistent’ display
The US Open champion held a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Tom Lewis,
Rory McIlroy rues a late night until eagle gets him flying in Italian Open
The four-time major winner was only a shot behind leader Matt Fitzpatrick after the first round of the Rome event.
Rory McIlroy begins Italian Open with superb 67 after recovering from slow start
He kick-started his round by holing out from 115 yards for an eagle on the par-four third.
Shane Lowry: Golf risks alienating fans with disgusting amount of money involved
The BMW PGA Championship winner insists he was never tempted to join LIV Golf.