AUGUSTA, Ga. – It has been only 143 days since Dustin Johnson won the 2020 Masters, but Thursday on a windswept afternoon at Augusta National Golf Club, it seemed as if it was a lifetime ago.
For the first time in three years, Johnson failed to break par during a round at the Masters, and his two-over-par 74 was riddled with mistakes. The Masters champion with the shortest reign in history walked off the 18th green of a very different course than the one he left back on November 15, 2020, when he was emphatically finishing a record-breaking 20-under-par performance.
“The conditions are definitely different,” the 36-year-old Johnson said afterward. “The course is a little bit firmer and faster. It’s playing definitely a lot tougher. When the greens are firm and fast here, the golf course plays difficult. Then you add the wind in today and it made it play really difficult, I thought.”
Yet despite his struggles, he still was tied for 36th when he finished, certainly not out of it yet, as only 12 players were under par when he was done. A more difficult golf course sets up such a contrast for Johnson, who destroyed the record books back in the fall, setting the 72-hole scoring mark and becoming the first player ever to shoot two rounds of 65 in one Masters.
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