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DJ finds groove with less-is-more approach

By Rex HoggardAugust 25, 2017, 8:18 pm

OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. – When things aren’t going the way a player would have hoped on the course the default plan is normally more – play more, practice more, press more.

But then Dustin Johnson isn’t most players.

A man of few words, Johnson’s change in competitive fortunes this week at The Northern Trust can be summed up in one word – less.

Less speed going back, as in a slower back swing, and less work on the range following a week spent relaxing and spear fishing in the warm clear waters of the Bahamas following the PGA Championship.

We’re not talking Hideki Matsuyama back swing slow, just enough of a pace adjustment to allow the bomber to find the rhythm in that powerful swing that made him literally unbeatable for a solid stretch this spring and the consensus favorite heading into the Masters.

There’s no exact explanation for how things got out of sync. The injury that forced him to withdraw from the Masters is an easy enough starting point, but that flawless swing just hasn’t been the same since.

“I'd have liked to play better in the majors. Getting hurt before Augusta, which is going right into the major season, didn't really help, especially for the momentum and how good I felt like I was swinging, and everything was going in a really good direction,” he said. “But I feel like I've got it back on the right track. I feel like I'm swinging well again.”

Although he hasn’t been willing to blame his pedestrian play on that lower back injury, he did say on Friday at Glen Oaks that he’s been “fine the last month or so,” which suggests there was a healthy slice of the summer when he wasn’t 100 percent.


The Northern Trust: Articles, video and photos

FedExCup standings entering the playoffs


For two days on Long Island, however, he’s looked more like the March DJ, when he won back-to-back World Golf Championships, than the June DJ, when he missed back-to-back cuts at the Memorial and U.S. Open.

He’s fifth in the field this week in driving distance, fourth in greens in regulation and first in strokes gained-tee to green, a statistical snapshot of a player’s advantage over the field average.

Put another way, he looks like the world’s top-ranked player, an advantage he has maintained despite his relatively average play this summer which includes just a single top-10 finish since the first week of May.

“Besides the bump on [Nos.] 4 and 5 for him, if he hits the two fairways, he's probably at 10 under,” said Jon Rahm, who went head-to-head with Johnson at both of his WGC victories this year. “Yesterday he hit it unbelievably good. He shot 5 under missing putts. Not many people were probably able to say that yesterday.”

That “bump” came on Nos. 4 and 5 on Friday, when Johnson played his second shots from the wrong holes following wayward drives and resulted in back-to-back bogeys on his way to a 1-under 69.

“I just hung back a little bit on both those drives,” Johnson explained. “One I held on to and it sliced, and the other one I released, and it just went straight down the left side.”

Johnson also added a new putter to his bag this week, a TaylorMade prototype similar to the Scotty Cameron he used to win the 2016 U.S. Open, but statistically he’s not exactly killing it on the greens and he conceded that it hasn’t been his putting that’s held him back the last few months.

Johnson’s advantage begins with his driver and ends with a vastly improved wedge game that ultimately laid the foundation for both his first major victory in ’16 at the U.S. Open and his ascent to the top of the World Golf Ranking. But neither area had been living up to the ridiculously high standard that he set earlier in the season.

That was until he arrived in New York. For two rounds, DJ’s play and position on the leaderboard have been more familiar, which is particularly imposing on a course like Glen Oaks, which qualifies as a bona fide bombers ballpark.

“This one is right up DJ's alley, but there's not many courses that don't fit him,” said Fowler, who is tied for the lead with Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Jhonattan Vegas at 6 under. “Long courses, they become somewhat shorter for him, and the shorter courses, can basically take driver and lob-wedge and putter.”

That Johnson took a distinctly less-is-more approach to his return to form is only apropos for a player who has a history of doing things at a slightly different pace.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

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.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.