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Masters 2020: Dustin Johnson 'close to complete package'

Masters 2020: Dustin Johnson 'close to complete package'

Dustin Johnson's record-breaking Masters victory owed plenty to soft November conditions but he also demonstrated qualities that make him close to the complete package as a player.

Prodigious hitting was not the only reason he romped to his five-stroke victory, becoming the first Augusta winner to reach 20 under par. Distance was an undoubted asset but more was needed to achieve such a convincing result.

All the pre-tournament chat surrounded another big hitter, Bryson DeChambeau, who had been happy to suggest what he might do to the famous Georgia course with his 350-yard drives.

The American brazenly reasoned that, for him, par was 67 and not the 72 written on Augusta National's scorecards because of his fearsome club speed and distance off the tee.

But golf does that to you, even on an Augusta course at its most accommodating. Fairways and landing areas were easier to find because of the absence of bounce and run.

Every facet still needed to be on song, though, and for Johnson that has been the case throughout this fan-free Covid era. In six of his last seven tournaments he has finished in the top two, winning three of them.

If DeChambeau is the golfing scientist, Johnson is the machine - one that currently purrs without malfunction (until a Green Jacket is put on his shoulders!). Technique and temperament proved to be in perfect alignment as he landed his second major and first Masters title. 

Hype turned to hubris.

Over the four days of competition, 27-year-old DeChambeau struggled physically - he spoke of feeling dizzy over the weekend but said his body was fine.

He only just made the cut and was ultimately beaten by two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer, who set a record of his own by becoming the oldest player, at the age of 63, to make the cut at Augusta.

They played together on Sunday. The German, who won in 1985 and 1993, is a country mile shorter than DeChambeau in hitting terms. But he took 71 shots to finish three under, while the American's 73 left him at two under. 

"He has turned himself into a disciplined, dedicated player," European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington told us during our coverage of Sunday's final round on BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I think most people would have a different image of Dustin Johnson, but he works really hard. He's improved his weaknesses, he's got a big team out there, he's in the gym, he's got the physios, he's really dedicated."

Harrington agreed that the undemonstrative nature of professional sport at the moment has also helped a player renowned for his calm demeanour.

"He hires a house, he stays in his house, he lives like a hermit on tour," the Irishman added. "Behind closed doors, yes it probably played into his hands.

"He has a very straightforward existence on tour now, he just does his thing and that's part of why he's improved. There are a lot of good things going on behind the scenes and there's no other way to say it; he's just matured as a golfer."

Four times previously 36-year-old Johnson had carried a lead into the final round of a major and failed to convert it into victory, including this year's US PGA Championship, won by Collin Morikawa at Harding Park. 

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