Recapping a historic Masters Tournament

Dustin Johnson shattered records Sunday as he won the 84th Masters at Augusta National

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After his breathtaking performance at Augusta National last weekend, Dustin Johnson is presented with the iconic green jacket by last year’s victor, Tiger Woods (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Cate Pitterle, Assistant News Editor

After sweeping away competitors with a third round 65, and finishing with a final round 68 for a historic weekly total of 20 strokes under par, Dustin Johnson secured his first ever Masters Tournament victory. The previous tournament-best was 18 under par, set in 1997 by Tiger Woods and tied in 2015 by Jordan Spieth.

Johnson received the traditional green jacket from 2019 champion Tiger Woods. 

“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 said in an interview with The Guardian.

Though he has been golfing for most of his life, Johnson’s path to this win was not always clear. After winning the junior state championship in South Carolina at the age of 14, his parents divorced and he transferred to Dutch Fork High during high school. There, he met a group of friends who encouraged him to cut class and slack off on his golf career.

In one case, he was arrested when an older friend coerced him into pawning off items stolen by others in the group. Later, that friend, Stevan Gillian, used a stolen gun to kill another student after fighting with them at a party. 

In connection to the crime, Johnson was arrested. After testifying in Gillian’s trial and paying reparations for the stolen items, he was eventually pardoned.

Realizing he had to turn his life around, Johnson refocused on the golf career he had always wanted. In 2002, his senior year of high school, Johnson helped lead his team to the Class AAAA state golf championship.

He later attended Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, where he continued his golf career.

Johnson’s path has always been somewhat unconventional. He partially gained that reputation when he hired his brother, Austin Johnson, to caddy for him on the PGA Tour.

But Johnson’s win underscores the fact that champions come from all corners of the game. 

Following the green jacket ceremony, Johnson began to cry. He had trouble getting words out, often looking around with a disbelieving grin.

“It’s hard to talk. But, you know, it’s just incredible,” he said, pausing to take a breath. “I’ve never had this much trouble gathering myself. On the golf course, I’m pretty good at it. Out here, I’m not. I do, I put in a lot of hard work. I’ve got a great team.”

On the course, Johnson seemed unstoppable. However, Cameron Smith, who tied for second place with a score of 15 under par, also broke records. He shot four rounds in the 60s, an unprecedented record in Masters history.

Smith tied with Im Sung-jae, a Korean player making his first Masters appearance. Justin Thomas, who is ranked third in the world, placed fourth at 12 under par.

Woods, the 2019 Masters champion, slipped Sunday. He made a dismal seven-over-par 10 on the 12th hole. Rallying to make five birdies in the final six holes, he ended the final day with a score of 76, four over par. He finished the tournament at one under par.

The next Masters isn’t that far away. It was pushed back several months this year, but will move back up to its usual April time slot for 2020.