Dustin Johnson entered Augusta National Golf Club Sunday morning with history working against him. Before the Masters 2020, Johnson had a 54-hole lead four times in a major championship. He hadn't managed to win each of those four times.
But Johnson had never led as many shots as the four shots he fired across the field at that runaway November Masters. He started on Sunday with the chance to achieve the best four-round result in Masters history. When it comes to blown leads at majors, the instant I think of Johnson's collapse at the 2010 US Open in Pebble Beach. Johnson began to change that narrative Sunday, however, completing a record breaking Masters for his second big win and first 54-hole protected lead.
To understand the story Johnson has overcome, take a look back at the four majors that led Johnson to the finals and what kept him from winning.
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How many majors has Dustin Johnson won?
Johnson has been one of the world's top golfers for years, spending 103 weeks ranking # 1 (fourth best ever). Now he has two big championship wins: the 2016 US Open and the 2020 Masters. He has come excruciatingly close several times after blowing a 54-hole lead on four other occasions. At the 2020 Masters, he protected his 54-hole lead with a major for the first time.
Dustin Johnson's blown leads at majors
2010 US Open
Course: Pebble beach
54-hole pipe: 3 strokes
Bottom line: 82
This was the first time Johnson had led Sunday in a major. He was 25 years old and shot a 66 on the third round to take Graeme McDowell into the final 18 holes in three strokes.
Sunday at Pebble Beach tested all golfers and few came close to the daily average. But Johnson went from lead to out of competition almost immediately. He turned the second hole three times, followed by a double bogey on the third.
Johnson's 82 was the worst US Open final result since 1911. McDowell continued to win after shooting three times in the final.
"I felt sorry for him," McDowell told the Associated Press. "We've all been there and it's not a lot of fun."
2015 US Open
Course: Chambers Bay
54-hole pipe: Tied for lead
Bottom line: 70
There was a four-way tie for first place in the finals: Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Branden Grace. Johnson took the lead with two birdies on the top nine. But then he turned three out of four holes in the back to drop off the top of the leaderboard.
Spieth battled Louis Oosthuizen in the last nine places, with Spieth overcoming a late double bogey to clear a shot and win. It made Spieth a consecutive big winner after winning the Masters in 2015 in a record breaking fashion.
2018 US Open
Course: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club
54-hole pipe: Tied for lead
Bottom line: 70
Johnson went to the finals again with Daniel Berger, Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka. All three of them were for the tournament, which proves the difficulty of the Shinnecock Hills course this weekend.
Johnson's putting hurt him this last round. Four times he putted three times for bogies. Koepka, on the other hand, stayed in the competition and put in a birdie on the par 5-16 course to retreat and win.
2020 PGA Championship
Course: TPC Harding Park
54-hole pipe: 1 hit
Bottom line: 68
Johnson had a straight keel final round. He was even par with 15 holes. Then he got a birdie on the 16th and a birdie on a 17-foot putt on the 18th to give him his two-under score on the final round.
The only problem for Johnson was with Colin Morikawa getting scorching hot and shooting a final round 64 that included a 54-foot pitch shot from the green that went for birdie on the 14th. Johnson wasn't upset with the way he played.
"I played really well," said Johnson afterwards. “I played solid. In general, with the Lead Shooting 68 on Sunday you will win nine times out of ten with a major. Obviously, Collin played really well. "
Biggest Blown Leads at Masters
Greg Norman (1996, led by Six Beats)
This equates to the greatest advantage in the history of the PGA Tour to the benefit of a player after 16 holes. Norman went out and shot a six-over-78, allowing Nick Faldo to locate him and win.
Ed Sneed (1979, led by Five Beats)
Sneed's lead had only shrunk to a three-shot lead when he reached the 16th hole. However, Sneed missed par putts on the final three holes every time to play bogey. He went to a playoff with Fuzzy Zoeller, who defeated Sneed, to win the green jacket.
Ray Floyd (1990, led by four beats)
Floyd wanted to be the oldest player to win the Masters. But Floyd had 17 doubles bogey and then found the water in a playoff with Nick Faldo. Afterward, Floyd said, “I was basically concerned with the pressure. Doesn't that suffocate? "
Ken Venturi (1996, led by four punches)
Venturi could have been the first amateur to win the green jacket. Instead, he put three puttings on the back nine four times and carded a final round of 80. Jack Burke Jr. won back that year by eight strokes to become the biggest comeback winner in Masters history.