Butch Harmon: Dustin Johnson the player to beat at the Masters

By the time the year was over, Johnson had swept all the PGA Tour awards, including player of the year. So it can be done.

"It was cool", Luck said, describing how McIroy offered to play with him then promptly birdied the first two holes.

Butch Harmon laughs at the notion that Johnson lacks the right intelligence to be a major force. He played Augusta National in December, had a round with Tom Brady here two weeks ago, and played the course again with his father on Sunday.

Neither golfer has finished better than fourth in their respective careers at Augusta, but both of them head into the PGA's first major event in great current form. "It gets me excited thinking about the possibility of winning and accomplishing one of my life goals, that said, I can't get too far ahead of myself".

Rory McIlroy received plenty of criticism for golfing with U.S. President Donald Trump this year and on Tuesday the Northern Irishman said he would "think twice" before accepting a second invitation.

"He knows he can handle whatever gets in his way", said Claude Harmon III, the swing coach who spends the most time at work with Johnson. But he's in some pretty elite company at the moment with how he's playing. And I felt like I handle situations better out here than other places.

The 2015 Masters champion saw his hopes of a second successive wire-to-wire victory fall apart in dramatic fashion a year ago, as he followed final-round bogeys at the 10th and 11th by finding water twice at the short 12th en route to the ugliest of sevens.

Rickie Fowler referred to Johnson this week as "just insane".

That's true at just about every Masters, though the mishaps typically occur on the golf course.

Johnson chuckled at that reference during his appearance in the Masters interview area Tuesday.

McIlroy has made a believer out of 81-year-old South African legend Gary Player. "So it's just a matter of being smart, taking your medicine when you have to and moving on". "I've been working hard on it". I feel like I've been right to y'all in that sense and no one's told me otherwise. It s a lot of fun. "I'm sure he knows everything you need to know there".

One possible surprising pick that many players would love to play with is Tiger Woods.

McIlroy famously lost a four-shot lead in the final round in 2011 after collapsing to a closing 80 and knows limiting his mistakes is key to getting his hands on a green jacket. "The last couple years I ve done a little better and I feel like I ve had a chance".

"The first thing that struck me was it's the first course I've ever seen where precision is so important", he said. He told me once: 'I never think about it.

Even the weather is on Johnson's side this week. The first two rounds are also expected to be cool and windy.

"It's going to be tough to hit the greens".

It's on the greens where Johnson has shown anything close to weakness this season.

"I think that you can just multiply that by a hundred I think", Day said.

  • Julie Sanders