Dustin Johnson held a four-shot lead heading into today’s final round of the Masters, which started early due to CBS football commitments.
When the #1 player in the world has a lead that big heading into the final round, it’s basically over. But not with Johnson:
Johnson’s close calls in majors are legendary, of course. Going back to 2010, when he immediately coughed up a lead with an early double bogey at Pebble Beach and then missed out on a PGA playoff at Whistling Straits due to the infamous waste area club grounding. There have been many more similar circumstances ever since, up to and including the PGA Championship in August, when Johnson shot a respectable-but-not-enough 68 en route to losing another major he led on Saturday night.
Indeed, Sunday started a bit wobbly, with the a slowish-start for Johnson and a fast start for chasers like Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im seemingly portending another potential collapse for Johnson, and one that would undoubtedly rank at the top of the list.
That didn’t happen, though. Johnson righted the ship and played like the best player in the world, which he is, finishing with a bogey-free 33 on the back to shoot 68 and win by five shots over Smith and Im.
After the round, CBS reporter Amanda Balionis teed up the usually reserved Johnson with a question about how his younger self would feel knowing that at some point Tiger Woods would be putting the green jacket on his shoulders.
What happened next was maybe more surprising than anything he did on the course itself:
Winning the Masters is a dream come true for Dustin Johnson. pic.twitter.com/2gGJ9HuMSJ
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 15, 2020
Watching Johnson break down like that is incredible if you’ve ever seen his often-mocked press conferences, where he answers as simply and directly as possible. It’s tough to get a quote out of him, and he’s never exactly open with his emotions. To see that level of happiness and relief was amazing. Credit Balionis, too, who asked the right questions and gave Johnson space to put himself out there.
This might dispel some of those DJ perceptions, too.
Rory on DJ:
"He's smarter than you think. He's switched on, more so than he lets on, more so than everyone in the media thinks. I'll just put it that way."
— LKD (@LukeKerrDineen) November 15, 2020
The tournament itself may have fizzled a bit down the stretch thanks to Johnson’s dominance, but that interview may have made up for it.