Johnson puts Pebble in the past

By Doug FergusonJune 30, 2010, 1:06 am
2010 AT&T NationalNEWTON SQUARE, Pa. – Dustin Johnson had all of last week to get the U.S. Open out of his system. He celebrated his 26th birthday on a boat, spoke with Greg Norman about learning from a major disappointment and showed up at Aronimink ready to move on.

So who was the first person he bumped into on the putting green?

Justin Rose, of course.

No matter where he looks, no matter where he goes in this game, there is no escaping failure.

“You’re not going to win every time,” Johnson said Tuesday after enduring a 20-minute inquisition on the 82 he shot in the final round of the U.S. Open. “I had three really good rounds. And I had a bad Sunday.”
Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson plays left-handed on his way to triple bogey on the second hole in the final round of the U.S. Open. (Getty Images)
His Sunday at Pebble Beach was sandwiched between two other collapses on the PGA Tour of far less notoriety.

A week before the U.S. Open, Robert Garrigus stood on the 18th hole of the TPC Southwind unaware he had a three-shot lead. He chopped his way into the water and out of the trees for a triple bogey, then was eliminated in a playoff.

A week after the U.S. Open, Rose took a three-shot lead into the final round of the Travelers Championship. Without warning, a guy looking to win his second straight PGA Tour title looked more like someone about to miss the cut in his 22nd consecutive tournament. Rose closed with a 75, nearly six shots above the average score, including a 39 on the back nine.

Johnson and Rose chatted for only a few minutes. There wasn’t much to say.

“It’s gonna happen,” Johnson said.

They at least are in good company.

Johnson’s final round of 82 was the highest in the U.S. Open by a 54-hole leader since Fred McLeod shot 83 at Chicago Golf Club in 1911. It was Johnson’s worse score as a professional. But, ultimately, it was just a number. If he had made that 2-foot birdie putt on the last hole, he would have shot 81. Graeme McDowell still gets the trophy.

Five years ago, Retief Goosen had a three-shot lead going into the final round at Pinehurst No. 2 and shot 81.

Tiger Woods won his first PGA Championship in 1999 at Medinah after a spirited duel with Sergio Garcia. Forgotten is that Woods began the final round in a tie for the lead with Mike Weir, who shot an 80.

Weir won his first PGA Tour event a week later. He has a locker upstairs at Augusta National, a seat at the table each year at the Masters for the Champions Dinner.

“It happens,” Woods said. “And just because it happened doesn’t mean that you can’t ever win again. If he has the talent and the game to give himself that type of lead at a U.S. Open, there’s no reason why he can’t do that again and finish it off. It’s just a matter of picking yourself up and doing it all over again.”

Johnson is not the type to dwell on much.

The only shot out of the seven he took on the second hole – a triple bogey that erased a lead he had spent three rounds building – was the wedge he hit from the middle of the fairway that caught the edge of the bunker and left him little choice but to take a hack left-handed. He thinks now he should have been more aggressive, gone at the flag, left himself a 10-foot birdie.

“It might have been different,” he said.

He’ll never know. The triple bogey was followed by a driver that vanished into a hazard, leading to double bogey. Then came a hybrid that sailed too far right, over the cliff and toward the ocean for a bogey. He says the disappointment didn’t last long.

“It was gone when I left California,” Johnson said. “It was a tough day, but golfers have tough days, and it’s how quickly you can get over them that’s the best part.”

That’s what Johnson is about to find out.

Of all the phone calls he received, the most surprising came from Norman, perhaps because few others could speak from such experience. Norman is as famous for the majors he lost as the two British Opens he won. And his popularity soared by the grace in which he handled defeated, whether it was the 78 he shot in the final round of the 1996 Masters, or the 76 he shot in the last round of the 1986 PGA Championship, when Bob Tway holed out a bunker shot to win on the last hole.

“All of them told me that they learned more from times that they’d lose than they did from when they’d win,” Johnson said. “Golf is a learning process, nonstop. There’s a lot of things I can take from that Sunday.”

Tom Watson had a chance to win his first major in the 1974 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. He shot 41 on the back nine for a 78 and tied for fifth. A year later, he was holding the claret jug at Carnoustie.

The spotlight won’t leave him anytime soon. The pairings for the AT&T National came out on Tuesday, and Johnson will be playing with Woods, the defending champion, along with Davis Love III.

Meanwhile, Johnson is trying his hand in another sport.

Johnson, Pat Perez and a couple of buddies pitched in to buy a thoroughbred that is training at Hollywood Park. The name of the horse is “Bling Boy,” although an informal meeting was planned for Tuesday night to find their own name for it.

“It’s just something that should be a lot of fun,” Johnson said. “He might be (bad). He might be pretty good. Who knows? It’s not like you can talk to them.”

Johnson hopes to get home from Europe next month in time to see the horse race at Del Mar.

Of particular interest will be how he fares in the homestretch.
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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm