Sergio Garcia can finally relax and just play golf at the majors. After four close calls and four bonehead losses Dustin Johnson can claim the rights to the title “Greatest Player to Never Win a Major.” With his final hole three jack DJ has officially become the modern version of Phil Mickelson pre 2002. With extraordinary distance and phenomenal touch combined with bad luck and poor golf in the clutch, he has played his way to the front of line of those expected to win in every Major. It ponders the questions…
Will he?… Can he? Before his sabbatical this past year I would’ve have said no. I had witnessed his partying habits at several events and was very impressed with his stamina. He obviously wasn’t concerned with playing golf the next day and seemed to feel he was impervious to the effects such consumption would have that night or the next day. Much like early years Phil he seemed to think he had it figured out and his talent was good enough to carry him to victory. But the new and improved version seems more impressive in the other direction to me. After his crushing failure last weekend we saw a much more mature and grounded professional athlete keep his perspective by giving his fiancee a kiss and carry his son Tatum to the scorers tent. Just like Phil did in 2002, Dustin has a new found focus to go along with coach/mentor Butch Harmon. So I think he can and will definitely win a major… and soon!
Well then… when? I think after a few weeks off from competition to recharge and refocus, DJ will win one of the next two. Taking into account the drama that unfolded at Whistling Straits those of us in the media would hope it will be there! The story lines that abound are unlimited. One thing’s for sure, he will know where the boundaries are for the sand traps. But I think his proven resiliency will help to him to victory at the “Home of Golf.” With the last three winners being Daly, Tiger, and Oosthuizen, St. Andrews gives all long hitters an unfair advantage. With the tremendous difference in length and accuracy over Jordan Spieth and the majority of other contenders, Johnson should have a lot of easy pitches to the large putting surfaces. His much improved putting stroke and strokes gained stat make him practically a lock to have an insurmountable or even unscrew-up-able lead going into Sunday’s final round.
On a side note…I’m 2 for 2 in majors winners this year. The third is just as obvious.