Masters 2020: Why Dustin Won and Bryson Lost

Dustin Johnson is one of those “obvious after the fact” type of players. By that, we mean the world number one is capable of breezing through a tournament with supreme confidence, never looking in any danger of losing. As you watch, it becomes so clear that he was always going to win, and you kick yourself for doubting him. Of course, Johnson is capable of losing – his Masters 2020 triumph is, after all, only his second Major. But when he is in the zone like he was at Augusta last weekend, there is no better frontrunner in golf.

Being “in the zone” is important for Johnson, perhaps more than any other player in the game, although we might make an exception for Rory McIlory. Johnson isn’t exactly a streaky player, though. In fact, he is highly consistent, as you must be if you are to have over 100 weeks ranked as the world’s best golfer. But there is something imperious about the South Carolina man when he gets locked in for a tournament, and we saw that in all its glory with his 20 under par haul at Augusta National.

Johnson Turned it On at Augusta

Is that the key then to understanding Johnson’s victory? That he was simply in the zone? Yes, and no. Johnson’s game has always been perfectly suited to winning a Green Jacket. He has the power (he’s regularly in the top five for driving distance on the PGA Tour), and he has the arguably the best short game in golf right now. Power, accuracy, nous, creativity – Johnson has the lot. And, if he combines those with the right mentality – he wins.

But what about the man who shared top billing with Johnson in the golf betting markets before the Masters, Bryson DeChambeau? Everyone knows DeChambeau’s story by now, so we won’t go over old ground. But it’s enough to say that the pre-tournament favourite got punished by Augusta. The player himself claimed he made “too many mistakes” when finishing outside the top 30, but there was more to it that missed chances. To put it into context, the world’s most talked-about golfer finished a shot behind 63-year-old Bernhard Langer.

DeChambeau Struggled but Had Chances

Now, it is much too simplistic to say that DeChambeau was “found out” Augusta. Anyone who claims that his game is just about those massive drives doesn’t really understand golf. Yes, they are eye-catching, and DeChambeau does sacrifice accuracy for distance. But his putting, for example, is a strong part of his game, and it’s something that has improved in line with that driving distance. His strokes-gained putting stats ranked 145th in the game in 2017 – it ranked 10th going into the Masters.

DeChambeau had 18 birdies and an eagle at Augusta, giving him the 20 under par to match Johnson’s total. The only issue, of course, was the series of bogies and a triple bogey that led him to finish 2 under for the tournament. But there are elements of his game that must improve if he is to become a Masters champion one day, notably in his approach to the green. DeChambeau has the wherewithal to work on his flaws, but it could take a while before he has the full toolset like Johnson.

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