April 13, 2024

Dustin Johnson’s poor play at the 2024 Masters was a stark contrast to his record-breaking performance at Augusta in 2020.


The 39-year-old finished the week 13 over par en route to missing the cut and getting sent home earlier than expected in the tournament. It wasn’t long ago that Johnson had a historical couple days at Augusta, smashing the record for lowest score across 72 holes at the Masters with 268 (-20). Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth previously held the best mark at the Masters, each posting 270 in 1997 and 2015 respectively.


After edging out Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im’s 273 scores – the eighth-lowest score at the Masters – Johnson was awarded the green jacket for the first time in his career. Entering this year’s Masters, the two-time major winner hoped to replicate his 2020 success at the distinguished tournament.


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“Obviously, I was playing very well, and you know that week I played very well all four days, but I see signs of it,” he told reporters last month. “I feel like the game is trending in that direction. Am I exactly there? It’ll be hard to get back to as good as I played that week. But am I playing well enough now that I can have a week like that? Absolutely.”


Since his dominant Masters showing in 2020, Johnson departed the PGA Tour in favour of LIV Golf. With The Saudi-backed league’s schedule being more limited compared to the PGA Tour, he was able to dedicate more time to training.


“I train the same all year long. In the offseason, you might go a little bit more heavy,” he said. “You know, it’s nice being home. And then obviously, [my trainer] travels with me pretty much everywhere. So, we train on the road, just like we do at home, for the most part. It is nice, though, to be able to have time to [train]. There are certain parts of the body that need extra attention, to put the work in.”


On the heels of a disappointing display at the 2023 Masters, Johnson came to Augusta this year with a stronger work ethic and greater determination to succeed.


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Dustin Johnson failed to replicate his performance from the 2020 Masters

Dustin Johnson failed to replicate his performance from the 2020 Masters ( Image: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

“I didn’t play near as well as I’d like to,” he said. “But this year, obviously getting off to a little bit better start [will help]. I feel like the game’s in really good form. To be honest, I am putting in a little more work. I just wasn’t pleased with my results. Putting in the effort, I think, is the biggest thing. I just wasn’t happy with the way I played. So I’m working a little bit harder this year.”


Unfortunately for Johnson, the extra work and preparation put in ahead of the Masters didn’t seem to pay off. He finished Thursday and Friday with scores of 78 and 79, respectively, and recorded just one birdie in 36 holes.


Following his defection to LIV Golf, Johnson’s Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) nosedived down to No. 336. The brutal standing is hardly a true indication of his talent, however, with most pundits still viewing him as one of the sport’s top players.

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