Another major, another miss for Dustin Johnson.
The nine-time PGA Tour winner made a late run at the Masters, but came up short once again, finishing T4, four shots behind eventual champion Danny Willett. With five birdies and two double bogeys on Sunday, Johnson cemented his status as a major talent with a penchant for major heartbreak.
Johnson birdied No. 13 to get to 2 under, and after pulling his tee shot on No. 15 to the left, he faced a recovery shot through the trees that he had to hit through a hole the size of a baseball.
He knocked a 6-iron on the green.
“It might be one of the better shots I’ve ever hit,” Johnson said.
A green jacket was within reach, and he knew it.
“Oh, I mean I knew,” Johnson said after his round. “Obviously, I didn’t know that he had trouble on 12 or whatever hole he had some trouble on, but yeah.”
He was talking, of course, about Jordan Spieth. The defending champion had one-arm in the green jacket when he blew up on the famous par-3 12th, hitting back-to-back shots into Rae’s Creek en route to a quadruple bogey 7, opening the door for a host of challengers, Johnson among them.
But facing a 20-foot eagle putt straight up the hill, Johnson misread it and settled for birdie. Needing to score on the final two holes to put the pressure on Willett and force a playoff, Johnson’s approach on 17 came up short and landed in a bunker. He hit a poor bunker shot well beyond the pin and three-putted his way out of contention.
It wasn’t the first time the long-hitting Johnson was betrayed by his putter in primetime. With a U.S. Open title a bumpy eagle putt away last year at Chambers Bay, Johnson pushed his first putt past the hole and missed the knee-knocker coming back that would have forced a playoff.
After his round, Johnson blamed his weeklong woes with the flatstick for his latest near miss.
“I felt like I played tee to green just as good as anyone,” Johnson said. “I just didn’t hole enough putts.”
Different major. Same story.