DJ all grown up and ready to tame Sawgrass

By Rex HoggardMay 6, 2015, 9:25 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – “Redeemed himself a little bit from last year,” Dustin Johnson said with a smile.

Johnson was talking about his brother, Austin, who punched a 9-iron into the wind at the famous 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass on Wednesday to 18 feet in the annual caddie closest-to-the-pin contest.

For all the change in Johnson’s life the last few months, however, he could just as easily been referring to himself.

A day after announcing he is taking a leave of absence from the PGA Tour last August, reported Johnson had been suspended for six months after testing positive for cocaine.

The Tour and Johnson both denied the report, which cited a single unidentified source, and he returned to the circuit in February at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Whatever demons Johnson needed to overcome – be they the “personal problems” he cited when he stepped away or something much more serious– the aftermath has been nothing short of a true redemption story.

After missing the cut at Torrey Pines, Johnson finished in the top 10 in five of his next six starts, including his victory at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and his best showing at the Masters (T-6).

For those closest to him, that seamless rebound was hardly a surprise.

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“The talent has always been there. You didn’t expect anything else when he came back,” swing coach Butch Harmon said on Wednesday at TPC Sawgrass.

What has surprised those around the slugger is the poise and maturity he has shown since returning from his hiatus.

“He’s a completely different person,” Harmon said. “What I’ve seen is a person, he may only be 30 years old, but he’s finally grown up and matured. He’s embraced that responsibility and it’s done wonders for him.”

Johnson was always a singular talent with well above-average power on a tour where potential is measured by the yard. He currently holds the longest active streak for most consecutive seasons with at least one victory – eight seasons and counting – and when his swing is timed up, as it was at Doral, he has the ability to dominate fields.

At Doral he rallied from five strokes behind J.B. Holmes with a closing 69 to claim his first World Golf Championship title.

But then all along it was the battles off the golf course that seemed to be Johnson’s toughest opponent.

Although he remains unwilling to go into details, his decision to step away from the game “to seek professional help for personal challenges,” was a nod to his unfulfilled potential.

“I had to take a look at my goals,” he told in January. “Finding out [fiancée] Paulina [Gretzky] was pregnant I knew it was time to do some soul searching and really work on me. I want to be a great father and a great husband.”

By all accounts he’s succeeding on both fronts.

The new and improved DJ shed 12 pounds while adding muscle and refined a power game that was already the gold standard on Tour.

He also added a support structure, including a “life coach” and regular conversations with Wayne Gretzky, Paulina’s father. But the biggest change in Johnson’s life has been the addition of Tatum, his son who was born on Jan. 19.

“His demeanor has completely changed. The responsibility of being a dad and having a child has changed him totally on his outlook of life and how he’s lived his life in the past,” Harmon said. “He seems to have a sense of calm about him that I’ve never seen before.”

The most interesting part of fatherhood has been how it’s impacted Johnson’s life away from the golf course. Asked on Wednesday at TPC Sawgrass how he balances his time Johnson’s take was telling.

“I’m in the gym early in the mornings so I can get home in the afternoon and hang out with the little man,” he said.

Competitively, this week represents another milestone for Johnson. In a half dozen starts at the Tour’s marquee event his best finish is a tie for 34th and he’s posted just one round in the 60s.

It’s an inexplicable drought for a game that has always travelled well.

“I like the golf course a lot. But it’s tough, it’s always windy, it plays difficult. The greens are tricky,” said Johnson, before quickly adding what can only be described as an internal pep talk, “I feel like I’m playing a lot more consistent this year. I’m driving it a little bit straighter. That will definitely help around here.”

It’s a striking new outlook, but then what else would one expect from a player who is featured on the cover of June’s Golf Digest adjacent the headline, “The New DJ.”

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 2:15 pm

Tiger Woods, in search of his 15th career major championship title, started the weekend six off the lead at Carnoustie. We're tracking him in Round 3 of The Open.

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Rose's Saturday 64 matches Carnoustie Open record

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 1:03 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose needed to sink a 14-foot putt on the final hole Friday just to make the cut on the number at The Open.

Freewheeling when he came to the course Saturday, Rose tied the lowest score ever recorded in an Open at Carnoustie.

Entering the weekend nine shots off the lead, the world No. 3 carded a bogey-free, 7-under 64 to at least make things interesting. It won’t be known for several hours how many shots Rose will be behind, but his back-nine 30 gives him an opportunity, if the wind blows 25 mph Sunday as forecast, to challenge the leaders.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

After all, Paul Lawrie was 10 shots back entering the final round here in 1999.

“I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I’m just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning,” said Rose, who is at 4-under 209. “So that might have been part of the shift in mindset today. I had nothing to lose from that point of view.”

Rose’s 64 matched Steve Stricker and Richard Green’s record score at Carnoustie (2007).

It also was Rose’s career-low round in a major.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 12:20 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch.

Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 8:30 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (