Dustin John­son looks to break through at Au­gusta Na­tional

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Player Profile -

To coin a phrase from an old credit card ad, it’s time for Dustin John­son to Master the mo­ment.

He’s been the PGA’s top-ranked golfer for much of the past two years, is one of the game’s long­est hit­ters and even has a ma­jor cham­pi­onship – the 2016 U.S. Open – to his credit. But not a Masters.

But that could change this week when the 34-year-old na­tive of Columbia, S.C., tees it up in the golf year’s first ma­jor, the Masters Tour­na­ment, air­ing Thurs­day through Sun­day, April 1114, on ESPN and CBS.

John­son cer­tainly has ex­pe­ri­enced his ups and downs at Au­gusta Na­tional, the florid North Ge­or­gia course where the tour­na­ment is played. He’s missed the cut a few times (2009-11) and was forced to bow out other times be­cause of in­jury (2012, 2017) and per­sonal is­sues (2014).

But in other years, John­son has shown flashes of bril­liance, such as when he made Masters his­tory in 2015 by post­ing three ea­gles in the sec­ond round, a year in which he tied for sixth. And he came close in 2016, within two shots of leader Danny Wil­lett in the fi­nal round, be­fore a dou­ble-bo­gey on the 17th hole rel­e­gated him to a tie for fourth, his best fin­ish at Au­gusta.

This sea­son, his per­for­mances have also been mixed as vic­to­ries at the WGC-Mex­ico Cham­pi­onship and the Saudi In­ter­na­tional have al­ter­nated with his tie for 45th at the AT&T Peb­ble Beach Pro-Am and his tie for 30th at the WGC-HSBC Cham­pi­ons. So which John­son shows up at Au­gusta is any­one’s guess.

Whomever does will tee it up on the 7,435-yard par-72 course against a field of the game’s best, in­clud­ing Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Rory McIl­roy and Tiger Woods.

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