UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Jordan Spieth heard the outcome before he saw the action.
Some 10,000 fans huddled in and around Chambers Bay’s 18th hole let out a collective groan as Dustin Johnson’s birdie attempt at the last slid past the cup, followed by a moment of stunned silence.
“You don’t want it to end that way,” said Tom O’Toole, the USGA president.
O’Toole’s reaction was shared by many and had nothing to do with Spieth’s virtues as a champion and everything to do with Johnson’s final-hole miscues.
After forging a two-stroke lead with an opening-nine 33, Johnson played his first four holes on the inward loop in 3 over par to drop behind Spieth and Branden Grace.
Still, when he converted a 3 footer for birdie at the 17th hole he was just one stroke out of the lead and when his second shot at the par-5 closing frame trundled to 13 feet, a Monday playoff – or even victory – seemed inevitable.
But after rolling his eagle attempt 4 feet past the hole, Johnson pulled his birdie attempt and finished tied for second with Louis Oosthuizen, one stroke behind Spieth.
While many in the enormous crowd around the final hole sat in silence, Johnson was surprisingly upbeat afterward.
“I'm disappointed that I three-putted the last hole,” said Johnson, who closed with an even-par 70. “Other than that I had a damn good week. I'm happy with the way I played. I'm happy with everything in my game right now. I had a chance to win again at a major on a Sunday.”