Dustin Johnson goes into the final round of the 2020 Masters with a four-shot lead over Im Sung-jae, Abraham Ancer and Cameron Smith. He should have this in the bag, really. He should. But it’s never quite as simple as that, is it. Ken Venturi had a four-stroke lead going into the 1956 Masters, but ended up losing by a single shot to Jack Burke. Rory McIlroy went into Sunday four clear in 2011 and finished in a tie for 15th. And then there was Greg Norman in 1996. Oh Greg.
DJ has shipped a big 54-hole lead at a major before, of course. He went into the final round of the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach three clear of Graeme McDowell, but dropped six shots in the first four holes in a blizzard of duffed chips and hoicks O/B. He’s been prone to the odd meltdown.
So nothing’s certain. Anything’s possible.
However. The DJ of 2020 is a very different beast to the one of 2010. He’s got a major on his resume now: the 2016 US Open. He’s world number one. His last six starts have seen him finish T2-W-2-W-T6-T2. And here’s the real zinger: he’s already shot 65 twice this week, yesterday’s blemish-free performance one of the greatest rounds in Masters history, sparked by an iron into 2 that nearly resulted in only the second competitive albatross ever on that particular hole. He’s just not doing anything wrong. What a guy. He really should close this thing out.
And yet the thing is, anything can happen in the final round of a major. Only last year, DJ himself nearly hunted down Brooks Koepka, seven shots clear after 54 holes at the PGA. He didn’t quite manage to complete the job, but it shows what can happen when nerves take hold … and the Masters famously doesn’t begin until the last player gets to the 10th tee on Sunday, when the jitters really kick in. Im, Ancer, Smith, Dylan Frittelli, Justin Thomas, Sebastian Munoz, Patrick Reed, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood and Hideki Matsuyama all have the game to pounce should the big moment overwhelm the big man. Whatever happens, this promises to be a November afternoon to remember. Good luck everyone, and may your golfing god go with you. Let the best man become the 2020 Masters champion! It’s on!
-16: D Johnson
-12: Im, Ancer, Smith
-9: Munoz, Reed, Rahm
-8: McIlroy, Koepka, Fleetwood, Matsuyama
-6: Na, Champ, Conners, Casey, Pan
-5: Simpson, Schauffele, Woods, Scheffler, Lowry, Willett
(USA unless stated, all times local)
Starting at 1 …
0750 Matt Wallace (Eng), Adam Scott (Aus), Lee Westwood (Eng)
0801 Billy Horschel, Danny Willett (Eng), Marc Leishman (Aus)
0812 Tiger Woods, Scottie Scheffler, Shane Lowry (Irl)
0823 Webb Simpson, Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai), Xander Schauffele
0834 Cameron Champ, Corey Conners (Can), Paul Casey (Eng)
0845 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Patrick Cantlay, Kevin Na
0856 Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy (NIrl), Tommy Fleetwood (Eng)
0907 Patrick Reed, Sebastian Munoz (Col), Jon Rahm (Spa)
0918 Cameron Smith (Aus), Dylan Frittelli (Rsa), Justin Thomas
0929 Sungjae Im (Kor), Dustin Johnson, Abraham Ancer (Mex)
… and at 10
0750 Justin Rose (Eng), Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Nick Taylor (Can)
0801 Bryson DeChambeau, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), Bernhard Langer (Ger)
0812 Si Woo Kim (Kor), Shugo Imahira (Jpn), Bubba Watson
0823 Ian Poulter (Eng), (a) Andy Ogletree, Mike Weir (Can)
0834 Charles Howell III, Collin Morikawa, Jazz Janewattananond (Tha)
0845 Chez Reavie, Rickie Fowler, Sung Kang (Kor)
0856 Tony Finau, (a) John Augenstein, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa)
0907 Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng), Victor Perez (Fra), Zach Johnson
0918 Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa)
0929 Jimmy Walker, Brandt Snedeker, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut)