Johnson's tears for a green jacket and major validation

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Masters golf champion Dustin Johnson wipes away a tear while being interviewed following his victory Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, in Augusta, Ga.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

AUGUSTA, Ga. – For someone with a reputation of lacking a pulse and fist pumps, the raw emotion from Masters champion Dustin Johnson was as startling as a virtually vacant Augusta National.

Why was he so choked up he couldn't speak?

Why was the smile so much brighter Sunday at the Masters than when he won his first major four years ago at Oakmont, as esteemed a U.S. Open course as there is?

Part of it was location, sure.

Johnson grew up about an hour away in South Carolina, and the Masters is the one major every Southern kid dreams about winning.

“Since I played my first Masters, it's been the tournament I wanted to win the most,” he said after setting the scoring record at 20-under 268 in his five-shot victory.

Phil Mickelson and his sharp needle once poked Johnson a few years ago at the Masters by asking if he had dinner plans for Tuesday night, and then waiting for Johnson to figure it out. He does now. Johnson will be hosting the Masters Club dinner for champions in April. He has an invitation for life to play in the Masters.

“Until they tell me not to come back,” he said.