By Jim Maggio
When Tiger Woods slipped the size 42L Green Jacket on golf’s newest Masters champion, Dustin Johnson, it brought full circle a series of events that have helped define the world’s top-ranked golfer both on the course, and off – and many of which have been rooted in the Grand Strand and Johnson’s home Palmetto State.
First, in terms of his current standing among the PGA TOUR’s elite, the win reaffirmed Johnson’s standing as the game’s top player. So how was it possible that a golfer still relatively fresh off a TOUR Championship victory, FedEx Cup Championship and 2020 PGA TOUR Player of the Year honor was being – dare we say it – overlooked heading into this past week at Augusta?
Sure, golf’s longtime sentimental favorite was one of two big topics of Masters discussion this year, especially given Woods’ standing as defending champion and his quest to add the next defining moment to an unmatched legacy. But Tiger wasn’t the only hot topic at Augusta National. Golf’s newest irresistible force, U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, was tinkering with a 48-inch driver, and laying the groundwork for attempting the once unthinkable: a “bomb and gouge” approach to conquer the game’s most hallowed grounds.
All the while, Johnson was prepping to ultimately win The Masters in record fashion (he’s now the first-ever golfer to reach 20-under par in this event), and do so – astoundingly – in comparative obscurity. It was a fact not lost on his college coach and longtime Dustin Johnson Golf School director of coaching, Allen Terrell, who on the eve of this year’s event cautioned those overlooking Johnson that they risked “poking the bear.”
Among our other observations:
Winning the Masters is a dream come true for Dustin Johnson. pic.twitter.com/2gGJ9HuMSJ
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 15, 2020
It was a side of Johnson the golf world and general public don’t typically see. But for those of us in the Myrtle Beach golf scene who see him during his return trips to the Grand Strand to enjoy quality time with the competitors of his namesake World Junior Golf Championship, it’s another compelling reminder of how the game impacts him on a personal level.