Dustin Johnson bidding to hit back from disappointing Masters defence

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Phil Casey, PA Golf Correspondent
·2-min read
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Dustin Johnson will aim to bounce back from the disappointment of missing the cut in the defence of his Masters title on home soil in the RBC Heritage.

Just five months after his record-breaking victory at Augusta National, Johnson had to hand back his green jacket and hang around to present new champion Hideki Matsuyama with his following the Japanese star’s one-shot win.

“I would have liked to have kept it, but I’ve got one, so it still felt good,” South Carolina native Johnson said ahead of this week’s event in Hilton Head.

Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson (left) helps new champion Hideki Matsuyama put on the green jacket at Augusta National (David J. Phillip/AP)

“And obviously very happy for Hideki. He played great. I think it’s great for golf. It’s great for him.

“It was definitely neat to be a part of the ceremony and I enjoyed being their champion for five months. I don’t care how long it was for, it’s still cool. I’m always going to be a Masters champion.”

The world number one, who bogeyed the last two holes in a second round of 75 to miss the cut by two shots, hit balls at the course on Saturday afternoon and played at Champions Retreat on Sunday morning before watching the closing stages of the final round at Augusta National.

“Obviously I would have preferred playing on Saturday and Sunday, but I just really struggled with the putter,” Johnson said. “It’s an honour to be a part of the (presentation) ceremony, and so I was happy to stay and be a part of it.

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“It was disappointing to miss the cut. Thursday was tough… a couple of three-putts on Thursday and then double (bogey) the last hole, even though I kind of got it around pretty well.

“And then the same thing on Friday. I played good enough to shoot a good score. You’ve got to hole putts if you want to play well, and I did not do that.

“I had four three-putts on Friday and missed the cut by a couple. Hit it in the water on 15, felt like I hit a really good shot there. You take those away and I’m right in the mix starting the weekend.

“It’s probably the worst I’ve putted in a long time last week. But it feels better, a lot more comfortable. Feel like I’m hitting putts on my line. Other than that, I feel like the game is in pretty good form.”