'I'm ready to take revenge on Augusta'
Your game appears ideally suited to Augusta. What have you learned over the years about how to play Augusta and what demands it makes?
Obviously the two previous years before 2017 I had my two best finishes. From the first time I ever went there I loved the golf course. It’s set up well for me. I think it’s a golf course I can do really well at. So I was really looking forward to going into it last year playing as good as I was.
Can you identify the three holes that make the biggest different to you in compiling a great round at Augusta? What are the key shots for you on these holes and why?
Really, every hole out there is a hole where you can’t ever lose focus. Any hole can bite you if you aren’t focused. The fact is that the golf course is difficult and if you get out of position you can make a number on pretty much every hole.
I think the first hole is very important though, it’s a tough par 4 to start and obviously getting off to a good start in the round is very big so I feel that 1,2 and 3 are good holes to just get off to a good start.
But then you turn and you have 4, 5, 6 and 7 which are difficult. For me, though, I’d say every hole is pivotal out there, you’ve really got to stay focused and stick to your game plan.
Making birdies and eagles here clearly isn’t an issue for you – in the second round in 2015 you had three eagles. But how do you balance the chances to make eagles at Augusta and surge up the leaderboard with the risk of bringing bogeys and worse into play?
Well, the par 5s at Augusta are where you’ve really got to make your moves. I mean, they’re important because those are the holes you can definitely score on.
For me – depending on the wind – I can reach all four of them so playing them smart is key. If you make four fours on the par 5s every day you are doing good. Those are the holes where you really have to attack the course.
You were level with Danny Willett through three rounds in 2016 and he went on to win. Is that one that got away?
I definitely had a chance coming up 17. I drove it in the fairway, and I thought I’d hit a great shot from the fairway and it ended up catching the tip lip of the bunker and I ended up making a double. In the air, I thought I had made a birdie so that was a big turning point.
But, yes, that was one where I was right there and I had a really good chance.
Interview continues on the next page, where Johnson discusses what changes he’s made to succeed at Augusta…