The golfing year may have started in uncertain fashion for Dustin Johnson but there’s no doubt that the man from Columbia, South Carolina finished 2020 on top. A first US Masters victory, on top of a dominant FedEx series saw DJ climb back to number one in the world rankings and he looks primed to claim more Tour titles in 2021.
Looking back as the year draws to a close, it’s hard to believe that Johnson had his struggles at times and, while he ended the season on a high, there were times when many thought he’d struggle to compete.
Highs and Lows
Johnson endured a series of ups and downs throughout 2020 and the year began with a tentative return from injury. DJ lined up in January at the Sentry Tournament of Champions following a fourth-month lay off due to arthroscopic knee surgery. Considering that prolonged period of absence, a tie for 7th, albeit in a field of just 34, was a respectable return.
February saw good progress but, like the rest of the sporting world, golf was to take an extended and unscheduled hiatus in March. It was a frustrating period for all concerned but Johnson, like Brooks Koepka who had also recently returned from injury, was able to use the time wisely.
Back to full fitness, DJ returned to the Tour in June and won for the first time in the season at TPC River Highlands. Potential back issues threatened to derail his move up the rankings but from August he began to peak and he quickly moved to close out the FedEx series after claiming a considerable lead in the closing stretch.
Moving on to Augusta, few knew what to expect with the Masters having been switched to November. With turf mown back towards the tee boxes on each hole, it’s not a course that provides run during the driest of spells but there were potential weather concerns. Class and form will often come through in these situations and Dustin Johnson took the opportunity to prove himself as the best golfer in 2020. Moving forward into next year, what can we expect?
The Man to Beat
The sportsbooks are already looking ahead to next season and the best betting sites as SBO.net expect big things from Dustin Johnson. Currently, the reigning US Masters Champion is the clear favorite to win all three Majors on the West of the Atlantic. DJ is ahead of the chasing pack in the Masters, the US Open and the PGA Championship while the Open Championship has yet to be fully declared.
These chasers are headed by Rory McIlroy who was in Johnson’s position as outright favorite 12 months ago. Interest in those betting markets will also, undoubtedly fall on Bryson DeChambeau following his maiden Major win at the PGA Championship while other golfers in contention as far as the sportsbooks are concerned might include Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas. There’s a long way to go and there are no guarantees that injury won’t hamper DJ’s progress once again but for now, he’s very much the man to beat.
What to Expect in 2021
Dustin Johnson’s star quality was never in doubt but, as he passed his mid-30s, his return in Major tournaments was disappointing and many were questioning whether he would add to his solitary US Open success in 2016.
The follow up win at Augusta was, therefore essential, and many are looking to Johnson to undertake a successful defense. As far as those Masters betting markets are concerned, this is where he has the biggest lead over the chasing pack and, with victory so fresh in the memory, another Green Jacket is in DJ’s sights.
The US Open and the PGA Championship are also legitimate targets and, if he maintains form and fitness, few would bet against Johnson landing one of those three titles in 2021. The big question lies in the UK with the Open Championship. Americans have enjoyed plenty of success here in the past but home conditions can often favor European golfers. DJ supporters will, however, be encouraged to see the tournament return to Royal St George’s next year. When the Open was last held here back in 2011, Johnson finished in a tie for second behind Darren Clarke and that’s his best performance in the competition to date.
Could that omen mean a success in a rare trip to Europe for the world’s best golfer? Time will tell but, after a year when the number one ranking changed hands many times, Dustin Johnson now looks poised for a longer reign at the top.