He’s something else, isn’t he.
Just when you think Dustin Johnson may have slipped back into old habits with his Sunday capitulation at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, he blitzes the elite winners-only field at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. By eight shots.
But this is what he does. You may never see his like again. He’s brilliant. Fact. Someone who’s basically a chilled out entertainer.
After securing his 17th PGA Tour win and second at the Plantation Course, Johnson was brought into the interview room.
The World No. 1 had blown a six-shot 54-hole lead in his previous start so one of the themes of the chat was to get him to explain his ability to forget adversity. At least that was the aim.
What insights could he give? His responses were classic DJ.
Q: What's the longest a loss has ever lingered for you? And which one was it?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Not very long, I don't think. Day maybe. Not even. (DJ then recalls that his US Open loss at Pebble in 2010 “bothered me until the next day”).
Q: You went fishing the next day, didn't you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah. I did. That was fun.
Q: You went playing golf the next day after Chambers (three-putted final green in 2015 US Open to lose by one), didn't you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah.
Q: Do you remember anything?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I remember now, yeah. I slept in a little bit that morning. But, yeah, I did, I played golf the next day after Chambers.
Q: That's got to be one of the greatest strengths in golf is a short memory, isn't it, do you think?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Don't know, I can't remember.
Sound familiar somehow? Remind you of something? Yes, if you’re a fan of The Office, DJ had gone full ‘Big Keith’.
Imagine, then, it’s the final day of the season and time for DJ’s end-of-year appraisal.
Chewing gum, he takes his seat, the 6ft 4” American a mixture of nonchalance and disinterest.
The appraisal begins:
Q: Under “strengths” you’ve just put golf.
Q: That’s your job, though. I was sort of looking for your skills within your job. So is there anything else you could have put there?
Q: Nope, Okay. Umm… under weaknesses you’ve put falling down stairs.
DJ: [chews gum]
Q: Okay, to what extent do you believe that you have the skills and knowledge to perform your job effectively and become World No. 1? And then you just tick one of the boxes: Not at all, to some extent, very much so, don't know. What would you tick?
DJ: [Chews gum, pauses]…. Don't know.
Q: OK. Do you feel you have received adequate training to use your new clubs effectively?
DJ: What are the options?
Q: Same as before, always the same. Not at all. To some extent. Very much so. Don’t know.
DJ: Don’t know.
Q: Don’t know again. OK. Do you feel you are given the flexibility to decide how best to accomplish your season-long goals?
Q: Do you want the options again?
Q: Not at all. To some extent. Always the same, Very much so. Don't know.
DJ: Don't know.
Q: If “Don't know” wasn't there, what would you put?
DJ: What are the options?
Q: Not at all. To some extent. Very much so. Don’t know.
DJ: Very much so.
Q: Do you remember what the question was?
Q: [folding over question sheet] Let’s… we're going to leave that there.
We next pick up Johnson in the media canteen where he’s sat across from David Duval.
Johnson breaks the silence. “Boring isn’t it, winning the first event of 2018 by eight shots and denying the tournament any drama. Not for me, I like it.”
He then bites a chunk out of a Scotch egg.
Duval admits he stayed in last night and had a pot noodle.
Unlike plenty of his compatriots who do noooo want to travel, DJ has developed his game by playing lots of golf abroad. Getting what he can why’s he young. Exploring himself.
His latest win was a reminder that, despite losing his place as flavour of the month to Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and, to a lesser extent, Rickie Fowler, he’s still getting the job done whilst having a laugh.
After all the joy and despair and near misses in majors, DJ knows more than most that a golf career is just a series of peaks and troughs. You never know what's round the corner. But that’s all good. “If you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with the rain."
And do you know which "philosopher" said that?
After his win in Hawaii it’s time I think to put my money on him to win The Masters for which he’s 8/1.
And if he does triumph at Augusta National in April and land me a big payout, I’ll think, “There goes Dustin Johnson. I must remember to thank him.”
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