Johnson finding his game ahead of Masters title defence

·2-min read

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) - World number one Dustin Johnson says that despite posting some lacklustre results over the last few tournaments his all-around game is clicking again as he prepares to defend his Masters title this week.

Johnson's 20-under total at the COVID-delayed tournament at Augusta National Golf Club last November broke the Masters all-time scoring record and delivered the American his second major title.

But in his last three tournaments he finished tied for 54th at the World Golf Championships at The Concession, tied for 48th at the Players Championship and failed to qualify for the final 16 knockout phase of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event.

The hard-hitting 36-year-old said those results were not representative of where his game is now.

"I feel like the game is starting to get really sharp again and I feel really comfortable, so I'm looking forward to this week," he told reporters on Tuesday.

Johnson is incredibly consistent and has claimed victories every year since he joined the PGA Tour in 2007, with the exception of a still-impressive 2014 campaign.

He has managed to avoid the kind of slumps that have bedeviled players like Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth in recent years but understands that everyone hits rough patches.

"It's golf. It's a game that one day you're on, one day you're off," he said.

"I've gone through some spells where I wasn't playing that well, but generally for me I just found that if I go out and keep working at it eventually it's going to come back around."

He said having added the green jacket to his wardrobe just five months ago takes some of the pressure off his shoulders.

"I've won the Masters so there's no pressure on trying to win the golf tournament," he said.

"But still, I want to go out and I'm defending champ, so I want to go out and put myself in a position where I've got a chance to defend my title come the back nine on Sunday."

Johnson will begin his title defence at the Masters at 10:30 a.m. ET (1430 GMT) on Thursday in a group with former runner-up Lee Westwood and amateur Tyler Strafaci.

(Reporting by Andrew Both, Writing by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Ken Ferris)