2020 has been a strange year, and one that is thankfully almost over. With the rare sight of an autumn Masters, golf’s major tournaments are over for another year, and already, focus turns to 2021. Hopefully, there will be an ever-green quartet of major titles to be contested next year, as the golf calendar was thrown askew this year, with The Open unable to take place.
But with some return to normality, the Masters returns to its typical place in the calendar, where it is the first of four major championships to take place. Already, golf betting markets are predicting their early favourites – and you’ll find Dustin Johnson’s name at the top of every list. DJ, of course, won the coveted green jacket last month, adding to his 2016 US Open title, but can he go on to have a stellar 2021?
As we take stock of 2020, let’s look back at the three major tournaments that went ahead, and their victors.
Formerly played in August, as of 2019, the PGA became the first major of the calendar. While the 2020 edition was originally scheduled for May 14-17th, it was the first tournament to be postponed and rescheduled – and went ahead between August 6-9th. It was the first major to be staged for over a year, and was the first to be played without spectators in attendance.
It was held at Harding Park, California, and the golf course hosted its first major, having previously hosted the 2009 Presidents Cup, as well as other World Golf Championship events.
The winner was Colin Morikawa, who was making his PGA Championship debut – and only his second appearance in one of golf’s majors. He finished two strokes ahead of tied runners-up Paul Casey and DJ. The win secured Morikawa’s place in the top five of the PGA rankings – rising from twelfth to fifth.
The US Open was postponed by three months due to the ongoing pandemic, moving from its original slot in mid-June to mid-September, when it took place between 17-20th. A history-making tournament, as it was the first US Open to be held in September for 107 years, it was also a year to remember for Bryson DeChambeau, who won his first major title.
The American shot six under par, to record a course score of 274 – finishing ahead of Matthew Wolff, who was looking to become the youngest US Open champion since Bobby Jones (1923) on his debut.
Winged Foot in New York was the chosen venue, and the sixth time that the West Course had been used for the US Open. Regarded as one of the toughest and most demanding courses, it didn’t prove to be a problem for DeChambeau, who powered his way around the holes. A remarkable final round saw him come from two shots behind Wolff to secure victory.
Augusta National in Georgia is the proud home of the Masters, and it is the only major tournament to remain at that one venue. Almost as iconic as the famous course, with its troublesome areas such as Amen Corner, is the coveted green jacket which is awarded to the winner. The 2020 recipient was Johnson, who won the tournament with a record score of 268, equating to 20-under-par, and who was five strokes ahead of his nearest challengers, Im Sung-jae and Cameron Smith.
DJ had led from the off – after tying for the lead after rounds one and two, he was four strokes ahead after the third round of play and in the final round, managed to extend his advantage over the rest of the field.
As mentioned, the Masters moved from its original slot of April, to November, taking place between 12-15th. While it was the final major tournament of 2020, it will be the first of 2021, and five months on from his success, can Johnson go on to retain his jacket?