After Dustin Johnson missed yet another birdie opportunity Sunday, CBS golf analyst Nick Faldo remarked that Johnson had “played better than anyone” in the field in terms of hitting the ball from tee to green.
He wasn’t far off.
If Johnson had managed to get a putt or two to fall earlier in the final round at the Masters Tournament, he might have forced a different outcome.
Johnson sustained yet another major championship disappointment with his tie for fourth at 1-under-par 287, four shots behind winner Danny Willett.
Johnson overcame a double bogey at the par-4 fifth and, with a two-putt birdie at the 15th, came within one shot of Willett’s lead of 3-under.
Johnson never got closer.
He missed a 15-foot birdie attempt at No. 16, then misjudged the second shot at the 17th and dumped it in the front bunker, leading to his second double bogey of the day.
Johnson had eagle putt attempts of 13 feet at No. 8, 13 feet at No. 13 and 20 feet at No. 15. He missed all three.
He held his head high, however.
“I’m doing all the right things,” the nine-time PGA Tour winner said. “I hit it in all the right spots. I hit some great shots.”
Johnson hit one more fairway (10) than Willett and only one fewer green (12). His putting for the week wasn’t terrible – tied for seventh in the field with 115 putts.
“I had a lot of good looks,” Johnson said. “I hit a lot of good putts that I thought I made that didn’t go in. I felt like I played, tee to green, just as good as anyone and I just didn’t hole enough putts.”
The long-hitting bomber from Myrtle Beach, S.C., has finished among the top 10 in 11 major championships, nearly half of his total cuts made of 24. Six of those top-10 finishes have come in the past four years.
Johnson tied for sixth in the 2015 Masters.
He has experienced crushing defeats in two other majors, the 2010 PGA at Whistling Straits and the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.
At Whistling Straits, Johnson had a one-shot lead with one hole to play but bogeyed the hole to apparently fall into a playoff with Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson.
Johnson was assessed a two-shot penalty, however, for grounding his club in a bunker that he thought was a waste area, and he finished tied for fifth.
Last year in the U.S. Open, Johnson had a 12-foot eagle-putt attempt at the last hole to win, missed that, then missed a 3-footer for par to deliver the title to Jordan Spieth.