In the end, it was such a procession to a coronation, Dustin Johnson could have been carried up Augusta’s 18th on a sedan chair.

Johnson doesn’t really walk does he? The world No 1 lopes, he saunters, he swaggers, he ambles. But whatever you want to call it, he produced a majestic march to a maiden Masters triumph yesterday.

On a day when the reigning champion, Tiger Woods, racked up an astonishing 10 at the fiendish par-3 12th, Johnson produced a terrific, clinical display of frontrunning golf that was jam-packed with composure, mental fortitude and wonderfully controlled course management. 

It was a true masterclass as the 36-year-old ended up top of the class. Thankfully, Tiger didn’t take 10 attempts to get the green jacket on Johnson at the sugary, ceremonial prize giving in the Butler Cabin.

After a brief, early wobble, Johnson, who was born just 70 odd miles from Augusta in the neighbouring state of South Carolina, remained as stoic as a maritime monument and his final round four-under 68 gave him a towering 20-under 268 and a five shot win over Sungjae Im and the brave Cameron Smith, who became the first player to shoot four rounds in the 60s and not win.

Johnson’s aggregate was the lowest ever Masters total, eclipsing the 18-under record set by Woods and Jordan Spieth. Johnson also became the first world No 1 to slip into golf’s most cherished blazer since Woods back in 2002.

For a golfer who tends to show little emotion, the sight of him welling up on the 18th, while his brother and caddie, Austin, wiped away a jubilant tear, showed just how much it meant. They’ll be wringing pints of blood out of stones next.

With just the one major title on his cv prior to this delayed Masters week, and the unenviable record of throwing away four 54-hole leads in golf’s showpiece occasions, Johnson looked like a man on a mission. When he tapped in for par on the last, it was mission accomplished.

“It’s a tough day, it’s tough to get it done in a major,” said Johnson. “I was nervous all day, I could feel it. This is the biggest for me, it’s the one I wanted to win the most. I’m very proud. And to have Tiger putting the jacket on me? It’s a dream.”

Johnson held a four shot lead heading into the closing day but, in this game, such a margin can be as brittle as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Greg Norman had a six shot cushion in 1996 and lost. Ed Sneed had five shots on the field in 1979 and couldn’t finish off the job while Rory McIlroy in 2011 and Ken Venturi back in 1956 both saw four shot advantages evaporate. For Johnson, there were plenty of warnings from history.

Johnson made a delightfully executed up-and-down from the sand on the second to salvage par and it was an important moment as Smith, the impressive Australian, was trying his best to rattle Johnson’s cage with a couple of early birdies.

Despite the leader picking up a shot on the third, back-to-back bogeys at four and five from Johnson suddenly had his advantage down to just one. Having dropped just two shots all week before that stuttering brace, Johnson showed great resilience and responded with a fine approach to 10-feet onto the sixth which spawned a crucial birdie. It was a decisive blow.

Im, with a lovely rhythm and superb short game, was trying his best to keep pace while Smith pulled out two marvellous birdies from the pine straw at seven and nine to hold on to Johnson’s coat tails. McIlroy, meanwhile, was sneaking in the back door but, after his ruinous opening 75, he once again left him himself with too much to do and, chasing hard, he plonked an approach into the water at 15 on his way to a 69 for an 11-under tally and a share of fifth, his sixth top-10 finish in the last seven Masters. Nobody was going to reel in Johnson.

Aside from the display of the eventual champion, one of the performances of the week came from Bernhard Langer. At 63, the German golden oldie signed off with a 71 for a three-under total and share of 29th. He outscored Bryson DeChambeau  – yes, him we made all the pre-event fuss about - by one.

As for the aforementioned Woods? Well, well, well. On that wonderfully pesky 12th hole which has been the ruin of many down the years – Tiger himself benefitted from Francesco Molinari’s major mishap there in 2019 – the defending champion came a right cropper. In fact, it was so grisly to watch, the Augusta officials should have put up a cordon. 

Woods plunged his 8-iron tee shot into the water, then watched as his third from the drop zone spun back into Rae’s Creek.

The 15-time major winner plonked his fifth shot into a treacherous spot in the bunker and ended up with the kind of eye-opening, and eye-watering, stance you’d get in the more adventurous diagrams of the Kama Sutra. You don’t want to be doing that with a gammy back.

Woods would hoik that one into the water again. When the whole ghastly palaver was over, he trudged gingerly away while scribbling a horrid 10 on to his card. That he birdied five of his closing six holes in a 76 for a one-under total demonstrated the mighty resolve of a truly great champion. It was a remarkable, defiant final round flourish.

Tiger’s last job was to put the green jacket on Johnson. It was the perfect fit.