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Uncomfortable with driver, Dustin Johnson still in contention for second green jacket

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – When he won the 2020 Masters, Dustin Johnson hammered his patented fade off the tee and ranked among the driving-distance leaders.

It’s a different strategy this time – out of necessity.

Uncomfortable with his driver, Johnson has mostly been relying on 3-wood off the tee to keep him in play around Augusta National. It’s working so far – he’s at 2-under 142, one shot off the halfway lead – but he still was heading to the tournament practice area for a second straight day of post-round driver work.

Full-field scores from the 86th Masters Tournament

“I’m just trying to keep it between the trees so I can hit it on the green,” he said with a smirk.

Through two rounds, he’s averaging just 279 yards off the tee; during his Masters win in 2020, he averaged 306.6.

It’s a familiar issue for Johnson, who had one of the worst driving seasons of his career in 2021 and has been searching for a fix that will allow him to aim down the left side and hit his usual power fade. He said the issue was more with his swing than his equipment.

“I’m not swinging it as well as I’m swinging everything else,” he said. “I feel really comfortable with all the other clubs in my bag, just maybe not quite as comfortable as I usually am with the driver.

“Usually, I won’t hit a 3-wood until I absolutely have to, but for some reason right now, I’m just struggling a little with the driver.”