ERIN, Wis. – As Dustin Johnson made his first trip around Erin Hills this week on Tuesday he paused to FaceTime with his fiancée Paulina Gretzky and the couple’s newborn baby, a son named River Jones Johnson.
Johnson cut short his preparation for this week’s U.S. Open to be with Gretzky on Monday when she gave birth to their second child, but in typical DJ fashion he looked neither rushed nor concerned when he did arrive in Wisconsin.
“The last 48 hours have been awesome,” he said on Wednesday.
Johnson prepared for his late arrival, playing two practice rounds at Erin Hills after missing the cut at the Memorial two weeks ago and he added a final nine-hole tour on the eve of the championship.
That’s not to say there isn’t a heightened level of anticipation for Johnson, who is playing his first major of 2017 after missing the Masters with what he described as a “freak” injury.
Johnson, the world’s top-ranked player whose lead is so substantial he can’t be overtaken this week, was on a torrid run before the Masters, winning three consecutive starts, including two World Golf Championships. But he hasn’t been as sharp since returning. Although he finished runner-up at the Wells Fargo Championship, he was 12th at The Players and missed the cut at the Memorial.
That relative lull, however, hasn’t tempered his expectations or his desire, a clarity of thought he easily admits is born from his budding family.
“It just gives you a whole new perspective on things, where before kind of golf was the most important and now my family is the most important,” Johnson said. “Whether I'm having a good day or bad day, when I either see my family or talk to them, if I was upset or even if I was happy with the way I played, none of that matters.”