AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Dustin Johnson said on Tuesday that being the hottest golfer on the planet heading into the U.S. Masters means nothing when it comes to trying to tame Augusta National.
The long-hitting American is the favorite to win the year’s first major after recording wins in his last three tournaments but no world number one has captured the Green Jacket since Tiger Woods in 2002.
“It’s a funny game. It doesn’t matter how good you’re playing, you can still not win,” Johnson, who became world number one in February, told a news conference.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in my game right now, especially with the way I’ve been playing the last few tournaments. But, you know, anything can happen.”
Apart from two top-10 finishes the last two years, Johnson has a modest history at the Masters but has never arrived here with his game as sharp as it is right now.
Last year, his dreams of winning were ruined by two double-bogeys in the final round. He tied for fourth, four shots behind winner Danny Willett.
He now boasts all the tools needed to tame the demanding layout, most notably his prodigious length off the tee that will give him as good a chance as anyone of essentially changing the four par-five holes into par-fours.
“I always thought it suited my game very well. It’s a tough golf course, everything in your bag needs to be working for you to play well around here,” said Johnson, who will tee off on Thursday with twice Masters champion Bubba Watson and PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker.
“The last couple years, I’ve done a little bit better and I feel like I’ve had a chance. Obviously I’m playing well coming into this week, so hopefully I can continue that success and I’m looking forward to giving myself a chance to win on Sunday.”
Should Johnson, who clinched his first and so far only major at last year’s U.S. Open, win this week he would become the first golfer other than Woods to win four consecutive PGA Tour starts since Ben Hogan in 1953.
“Obviously, over the last year or so, I’ve gotten — I feel like my game’s gotten a lot better,” said Johnson. “But I always believed that I could get there.”
Editing by Andrew Both