Dustin Johnson is back at the 3M Open – and back, in a sense, where the best golf of his life began.
It was at this tournament last year that Johnson, fresh off an 80-80 missed cut at the Memorial, bottomed out with a first-round 78 that included a 9 on the 18th hole. He withdrew following the opening round, citing a stiff back, and went home to work on his body and game.
Upon returning to competition the following week, Johnson kicked off a run in which he shot in the 60s in 18 of his next 20 rounds. That stretch included two victories, two runners-up and a $15 million FedExCup title. His strong form continued into the fall, culminating with his victory at the 2020 Masters. It was, Johnson said, the best stretch of golf he has ever played.
Reflecting on last year’s WD in Minnesota, Johnson said: “I didn’t play that bad, I was just making way too many mistakes. Definitely from here I went home and practiced and got the game in good form. Obviously went on a great run there.”
And now: “I feel like the game is really close to doing that again. Starting to see a lot more consistency with the shots and the swings and just controlling the golf ball a lot better.”
A year later, Johnson could use a similar spark.
Other than a victory in early February at the European Tour’s Saudi International, it’s been a quiet season for the now-world No. 2. Last week’s tie for eighth at The Open was just his second top-10 on Tour since February, but even that performance was marred by a third-round 73 that dropped him out of title contention.
Is another torrid stretch on the horizon, just like last year?
“Things are starting to turn around a little bit,” he said. “I felt like I haven’t had a great season so far, but I feel like the game, it’s starting to come back into form. I’m starting to see a lot more consistency with the game, starting to play a little bit better. I’m pleased with where the game’s at and pleased with the stuff that I’m seeing so far.”