Dustin Johnson stood on the 18th tee at Chambers Bay trailing leader Jordan Spieth by 1 stroke. DJ needed a birdie to tie and force an 18 hole Monday playoff. Johnson hit his best drive of the week to set up his 5 iron approach into the par 5. With a 15 foot eagle putt to win the US Open, DJ hit the putt aggressively and blew it 5 feet by the cup. Johnson would go on to miss the birdie putt to miss out on the playoff by 1 shot. Dustin Johnson left Washington with his head high knowing he left it all on the course. This, however, was not Johnson’s first rodeo. This was another near miss at a major championship for Dustin Johnson.
Rewind to 2010, Dustin Johnson took a 3 shot lead into the final round of the US Open at Pebble Beach. Johnson would shoot a final round 82, far away from the win. That year in August, DJ again found himself in contention at the PGA at Whistling Straights. Up by one shot, DJ hit his tee shot right into a sandy waste area. Johnson would go on to bogey the final hole to join Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson in a 3 hole playoff. Unfortunately, Johnson was given a 2 stroke penalty for grounding his club in the hazard.
Yesterday looked like it was going to be another near miss for Dustin Johnson. On the fifth hole, Johnson stood over his par putt when, without grounding his putter, the ball rolled backwards. Johnson immediately informed a USGA official of what happened, and was told to play the shot without penalty.
Fast forward to the 12th tee, Johnson was again approached by USGA officials. They informed him that the incident on the 5th green would be investigated after the round. Here we go again.
The USGA also told the other competitors on the course about the potential for a penalty against Johnson. This clearly affected 3rd round leader Shane Lowry, who shot a final round 76. Lowry made 3 critical bogies down the stretch to open up the lead for Johnson.
Dustin Johnson did not make it easy on Sunday, but he did everything he needed to do. On the front nine, DJ struggled with his approach shots, leaving mid to long range putts. From there, DJ struggled to lag the ball to within tap in distance of the cup. Dustin Johnson did, nonetheless, convert these critical short putts.
Johnson stayed in cruise control on his back nine making par after par. One blemish on his scorecard occurred on 14 where he made a bogey. After a solid up and down for par on the drivable par 4 17th, Dustin Johnson saved his best 3 shots of the tournament for the final hole. DJ piped his drive down the middle of the fairway. From the fairway, Johnson hit a 6 iron to 5 feet to make a birdie.
After his round, the USGA would asses Johnson a one stroke penalty for the incident at the 5th hole. Johnson’s score was relegated from -5 to 4 under par. Johnson would go on to win by 2 strokes.
But for Johnson, this win finally lifts a monkey off his back. Long known as the golfer who couldn’t close when the lights were brightest, Johnson finally joins the other greats as a major champion.
And just 2 days short of his 32nd birthday, DJ is just entering his prime. This guy has the talent to win multiple majors, and I’d bet on it.
And for those of you who forgot who DJ's wife is....