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Does Dustin Johnson Even Have to Try Anymore?
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The best ball-striker in golf is likely 6’4″ Dustin Johnson, who found himself in the last fairway in Sunday’s tournament in Memphis with a 4 shot lead and 171 yards to the 18th hole. Johnson’s not a great putter, so perhaps he was worried about seven-putting and losing the tournament. Fortunately, he came up with a pretty efficient solution for his putting woes. If you aren’t putting well, you should try this too.

Earlier this year in Hawaii, Johnson teed off on a 433 yard par 4 but failed to hit the ball hard enough:

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  1. Danindc says:

    Still only has one major….would definitely install him as favorite this week though.

  2. Alfa158 says:

    Well, he did have a tailwind. :-)

  3. FozzieT says:

    DJ is as dumb as a bag of hammers and hits on other players’ wives.

    • Replies: @SanJoaquinSam
    , @Bitfu
  4. ziel says:

    Which is why Tiger’s quest (to beat Nicklaus) is futile – there’s too many much younger players who are immensely talented and not afraid of him. He could maybe win another Major – anyone can, really – but the kind of dominance required to win five? – absolutely no way.

    • Agree: Travis
  5. I don’t watch golf much (sorry Steve), so can someone explain to me why Jordan Spieth has won a couple of majors?

    I’ve watched him a couple of times, and he not only wasn’t a particularly long driver but he wasn’t particuarly accurate, which the announcers indicated was a common issue with him. How does someone overcome that going up against bombers like Johnson? Is Spieth’s short game just that good?

    Also, has anyone ever suggested that pros be forced to play with equipment that slows them down? Actually, I’m sure that someone has, so maybe the question is why was the idea turned down?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  6. The weather is going to be dry, dry, dry this week. Johnson plays the game through the air, he loves to play darts. Most courses accommodate that, but not most US Open venues. His US Open at Oakmont was a soft course in 2016. He’ll be hitting lots of stinger two-irons this week, they say, but he even started losing THAT shot left Sunday. Bombing the ball 350 ain’t the way to go at this one, either. Plus, lots of guys kick serious ass the week before a Major then show up and cut. You can’t put your game in a bottle and take it to the next stop. Only the greats carried their games stop-to-stop and won week after week. And that ain’t DJ. Between having the driver taken away and losing his putter on the tricked up, rock-hard, shaved and thrice-rolled greens, he’ll never win this one.

    Very iffy of me to say so, but I say, Dustin Johnson-Cut, same as last year. He’ll be truck-slamming. You heard it here first.

    Looking at the pairings, who’s the Prick-Pairing, Steve? Patrick Reed’s looks good to me.

  7. He has to try if any one of a half dozen or more other young but in their prime stars are hot this weekend.

    Shinnecock probably favors golfers with a more consistent, controlled short game.

  8. Forbes says:

    There’s an apocryphal story of Arnold Palmer driving the green on the first hole (346 yards) of the 4th round of the 1960 US Open at Cherry Hills Country Club. He started the final round 7 strokes back, with 14 players ahead of him, shot a 65, and won the tournament.

    It’s where (and when) Arnie’s Army started. When he drove the green, the crowd followed him down the course–instead of regular practice (at that point) of standing put and watching each group play from one’s viewing spot.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  9. @Forbes

    Arnie had been trying to drive the green all week at the 1960 US Open and caused himself some trouble on what should have been an easy hole.

    But after being way back after 3 rounds, he decided had had to shoot a 65 because a 280 wins US Opens. He birdied the first six (?) holes of the 4th round and beat 48 year old Ben Hogan and amateur Jack Nicklaus.

  10. @Citizen of a Silly Country

    Spieth was an incredible putter for a couple of years. On the 18th at the US Open in 2015 (?) at Chambers’ Bay, Dustin Johnson outdrove Spieth by 50 yards, but Johnson 3 putted from 12 feet to lose by a stroke.

    Putting is almost half the game.

    There’s been lots of talk about making the pros play with a less bouncy ball. But the masses like to hit the ball far, and the pros get paid a lot to endorse equipment for amateurs, so it hasn’t happened yet.

  11. J.Ross says: • Website

    OT Include everyone

    The best one is the first one at link, it’s a photograph of a footrace with the trans frontrunner visibly way ahead of the competition. Second best is also at link: Fallon Fox crouching so as not to tower over “her” opponent.

  12. @FozzieT

    …hits on other players’ wives…

    That’s one way to put it.

  13. anon[153] • Disclaimer says:

    Golf has really changed. In the 70s I’d have needed a perfect 6-iron to reach the front of that green.

    • Replies: @Marty
  14. anon[104] • Disclaimer says:

    Heard the one about the top-10 golfer who failed three drug tests in five years, including two for cocaine, while allegedly carrying on liaisons with the wife of at least one fellow tour player? If not, then those PGA Tour mandarins in Florida would prefer to keep it that way. For the name of Dustin Johnson is one that they have, for three months, been seeking desperately to expunge. Johnson has become to his sport what his namesake Ben has been to athletics ever since 1988: a pariah, a persona non grata, a great unmentionable.

    Patrick Reed has an interesting back story also. I agree with the silence. In woman’s mixed martial arts, the backstory adds “color”.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  15. Tiny Duck says:

    He will never be as good as Tiger Wokds

    Golf kind of sucks. There is an appalling lack of diversity

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  16. Polynikes says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Easily the slickest player since Tiger through that stretch. He was nails until a little pressure got applied (ie masters record). Kind of a strange mentality. Not sure DJ is better than him.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
  17. @Jim Christian

    I’ll take that bet on trunk slamming.

    USGA brought in Corr-Crenshaw to remove some trees and create shaved chipping areas. DJ is a very good chipper. Also the USGA widened the fairways. This ain’t the Shinnecock of 1986.

    DJ will be in the top 10, at the very least.

  18. Marty says:

    Johnson’s 9-iron is the same length/loft as your 7-iron from the ’70s.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  19. @Tiny Duck

    Golf kind of sucks. There is an appalling lack of diversity

    Fair enough. But it IS the ultimate meritocracy. Just you and your game on display. I gotta hear the Tiny Duck process for forcing a little diversity on the PGA Tour. But FIRST! I want some diversity in the NBA. Same proportions as the number of Whites paying to see it in the arenas should do the trick.

    Fair Nuff, Duck?

  20. @Marty

    Johnson’s 9-iron is the same length/loft as your 7-iron from the ’70s.

    Nonsense. It’s half a club at most and not all did that much. Pros bend theirs any way they like. But for a given iron, it ain’t two clubs’ difference in lofts. Now, throw in better shafts, better forgings and the cavity-backs and you can claim there’s better distance and different launch angles, bounce, offsets that didn’t exist back then, but in terms of sheer loft, there’s been no great change in loft in mass-produced civilians’ clubs. Fact is, the pro golfer simply hits it BETTER than we do out here.

    They can “improve” the equipment all they want, few ‘civilians’ are physically equipped to take advantage on any of it. We’re not consistent enough by 1/4..

    • Replies: @ex-banker
  21. @Marty

    Poulter will win it.

    Trunk-Slammer. Except, he won Houston this year. He’s a nice player, but he’s 42 and been out there 15 years, he’s got three wins, no majors and only 22 million in earnings in all that time. I’d call him an underachiever, but then, Tiger Woods made underachievers of a lot of guys for 15 years.

  22. @Steve Sailer

    It’s all driven by equipment, understood. But Steve do you think the masses hit the ball in so consistent-a-manner that they could say this ball is longer than that one? Or that driver? 1/8′ inch closer to the sweet spot with any driver/club/ball is worth 10% or more no matter what combo you’re playing. Iron Byron can tell, the Bigs can tell, the little people cannot. Man, if I had a nickel for every 5-dollar Pro-V1X I’ve seen sail off into the woods from a $600-dollar driver with the $200 dollar shaft the last 20 years, I’d be rich, you would be richer. You can’t buy a game, although that’s the promise. I’ve seen a bunch of 3′ putts missed with $500.00 putters, too. Everyone has three Vokey wedges, but few duffers are any good with them. Once the transition was made to metal drivers with tall faces and bigger sweet-spots (relative to an amateur’s old Persimmon equipment), I don’t see any advances that added distance to the duffer’s game tht he would notice. But man, they push the new stuff HARD, as if it matters. Ah well, my AP-2′s or my Muscle backs look awfully sweet in my bag in the morning. It ain’t the clubs holding me back, Tiger can beat me with a broomstick.

    It would suit me to have a couple of vintage weeks where the pros play with what Jack and Arnie played with on classic courses that are out of the rota because of equipment of today. Never happen, the bots that pass for pros on tour today would never vary their routine, but still..

  23. Hodag says:

    Coore and Crenshaw widened the fairways. After Erin Hills last year (wide fairways, softish and little wind conspired for low scores) Ray Floyd (a Shinnicock member) and the USGA conspired to narrow them somewhat.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  24. Hodag says:

    Major championships have been won by men from every continent. It is the most diverse game in the world, more diverse than soccer’s so-called World Cup.

    • Replies: @Dwright
    , @William Badwhite
  25. I couldn’t quite make out his caddy. Is he sponsored by Subway, by any chance … ?

  26. @Jim Christian

    Heard on the radio yesterday afternoon that the traffic for the Open is expected to be full-bore hellacious.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  27. Jake says:

    If Tiger Woods had closed out the St. Jude’s with a hole in one, we’d forever be lectured about it. The lecture would assume that Woods is BLACK, the Asian of no meaning, and that the dab of white perhaps responsible for his seemingly bad traits.

    Over and over that shot would be shown, and eventually it would become common knowledge that only after Tiger Woods made the hole in one to finish winning the St. Jude Classic did people begin donating to St Jude hospital in large amounts.

    Therefore, Tiger Woods specifically, and black athletes more generally, are responsible for the best charitable works.

  28. Dwright says:

    Forget it Hodag, Tiny is our resident troll here.
    He’s really slipping, the true art of it is to not be so obvious. Probably a natural right winger.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  29. Bitfu says:

    Whenever I see DJ, I think of the term ‘anomie’. I’m not sure why–something to do with ‘malady of the infinite, and desire without limit’.

    I saw the interview after he hit that eagle walk-off this weekend…here’s the most talented guy on the Tour, who gets obscene amounts of money to play a game at these most incredible vistas, who’s grandchildren will never even have to work, who’s married to a bikini model…and he could barely muster a sincere smile.

    Life for DJ is like Christmas morning for JayZ & Beyonce’s kid…after 364 days of unbridled excess, it’s kinda hard for Santa and an 18 wheeler to move the dial. If the feeling of pleasure demands an above-average moment in contrast to your other moments, think about the work required for DJ to have a good day.

    Cocaine, high-end whores, private jets? Been there, done that. The thrill of a friend’s wife? Gotta try something–I’m bored over here. No doubt, he can produce dopamine, but his receptors are clogged. And it all just gets pissed away.

    DJ reminds me of Meursault from Camus’ Stranger, only with pleasure. ‘I won a golf tournament and a million bucks today. Or maybe yesterday; I can’t be sure.’

  30. Barnard says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I think limits on equipment, similar to forcing baseball players to use wood bats are a necessity in golf at this point. The only other way to limit scoring has been the USGA’s method of making the greens so fast that the ball won’t hold from an approach shot.

  31. @anon

    What is Patrick Reed’s back story? Isn’t DT married to Gretzky’s daughter?

  32. @Polynikes

    Spieth’s strength is actually his uncanny iron game (whoever said he was inaccurate is nuts) along with long putting, which is a related skill.

    Short putting has plagued him lately.

  33. Marty says:

    I played with a former mini-tour guy just last Friday. His Callaway 9-iron was exactly the length of my Macgregor blade 7-iron from 1989.

  34. @Jim Don Bob

    Feel like I heard that Reed had his parents escorted off a course one time, so not exactly a good relationship. I remember a few years back, his girlfriend (maybe wife) was his caddy, presumably because no caddy wanted to work with him.

  35. @Desiderius

    I just heard from some announcers that he wasn’t particularly accurate with his driver, which surprised me because he also didn’t seem to be particularly long with his driver. I was curious how a guy who starts at such a disadvantage on most holes could win so much. Figured he must either a great iron player or have a great short game or both. Could also be that he’s mentally tougher than the others.

    I wasn’t sure since I watch about two or three hours of golf a year.

  36. @Jim Christian

    It would suit me to have a couple of vintage weeks where the pros play with what Jack and Arnie played with on classic courses that are out of the rota because of equipment of today. Never happen, the bots that pass for pros on tour today would never vary their routine, but still..

    Jim, this is a fine idea. Instead of defating the ball on the whole tour, just have a few venues–like you said, classic courses that (per constraints) having been lengthen–where the pros play with old equipment. It would be kinda fun.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  37. Antonius says:
    @Jim Christian

    Women have shoe shops men have pro-shops and hardware stores (God only knows how many clubs I have)

  38. @Hodag

    Good find. Of course, they aren’t talking about it on Golf Channel yet and I’m certain the broadcast will be forbidden from mentioning the Floyd issue. Because the Open and the Members such as Floyd aren’t trying to trick up the course, they’re just trying to identify the best golfer. Besides, members hate when their home course gets shelled to the tune of -20 in ANY event, let alone the U. S. Open. Even Ben Crenshaw doesn’t see the narrowing as an insult. He doesn’t dare.

    • Replies: @ex-banker
  39. @Dwright

    Well, Duck is the advocate of Black men everywhere. But even Tiger Woods’ defining racial element is Asian and White, not African American. African Americans don’t PLAY golf growing up. They don’t play hockey. They don’t in fact, even play baseball.

    IQ <80 doesn't cut it in those sports anyway and so, no African Americans.

  40. @Prester John

    The Bethpage Black Course is closer-in and THEY had hellacious traffic. There is ALWAYS hellacious traffic where the PGA golf appears. You should see the region around Congressional out the old River Road, Route 190 off the DC Beltway in Bethesda/Potomac Maryland for Tour events, especially the U.S. Open awhile back. UFB.

  41. @Bitfu

    Yeah, but for all the fun you list, the work these guys put in, it can’t be measured. And, as Mr. Speith and Fowler have shown us, fall down in your work, you stop winning golf tournaments after the first hundred million dollars comes in.

    Broads, groupies, every chick in the world vying to be your wife, the dough, the agents, it’s all a distraction. I got no use for DJ either. But for all the fun, there’s a lot that ain’t.

  42. Barnard says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    Dustin Johnson is engaged to Wayne Gretzky’s daughter Paulina. They have two kids and have been engaged for about five years.

    Patrick Reed had a falling out with his parents and sister over his decision to get married to his wife a few years ago. He does not speak to them and his wife had them ejected from a tournament a couple of years ago, simply for coming at their own expense and quietly watching him play. They live in Augusta and had to watch him win the Masters from their home.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  43. Brutusale says:
    @Jim Christian

    About 15 years ago I was about to tee off with my buddy and some friend at his home course, Pembroke CC. My buddy is a 2, and the rest of us were 15-20s. The next foursome included a guy with the full set of Callaways, pro bag with all the bells and whistles, and a laser range finder.

    My buddy commented that the guy had never broken 100.

    My friend, 4-time club champion, has been playing the same set of Pings for 30 years. I’m still playing the set of irons I bought at the Boston Golf Expo 20 years ago.

    On the other hand, the girlfriend was frustrated using the clubs she’d been using since she started playing 15 years ago. Last fall she dropped some coin on a full set of Adams sticks, and she’s hitting it further and more accurately than ever.

    OT, Jim, you have busy mornings, commenting in the Boston Herald and iSteve!

    • Agree: Jim Christian
    • Replies: @anon
    , @Jim Christian
  44. anon[169] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    Even once Reed landed at Augusta State, where he helped the team to back-to-back national championships, the issues did not cease. And now that Reed has publicly tried to clear the air, a few of his former Augusta State teammates are publicly siding against him.

    He was kicked off the U GA teem in spite of his talent. Augusta State winning two NCAA titles? He is a professional athlete, so I’m willing to give him another chance. Whatever it was, I can’t fully imagine it.

  45. anon[169] • Disclaimer says:

    Back in the day of wound Titlists, I can remember a mis hit driver putting a serious dent if not a gash in a ball. You really had to hit it on the screws. I think modern equipment is a big help for the 10 handicapper. Nothing would help the 100 shooter. Extra distance just puts them further in the rough.

    As far as iron lofts, I don’t have numbers, but vanity lofts have been around for a long time. They are more than 1/2 club.

    • Replies: @anon
  46. anon[169] • Disclaimer says:

    Here is a loft chart. The pros use different stuff than the amateur buying game improvement clubs.

  47. @Barnard

    He left his first college (NC?) and went elsewhere over cheating allegations and he also was stealing money from his teammates in the locker room. Meanwhile, he was clutch in the NCAA, the Ryder Cup and he just picked up a Master’s with the raggiest, taggiest set of clubs ya ever saw.

    Shame about the folks. Rejecting your entire family just because you now can doesn’t mean it’s to be done. Aaron Rodger has that deal going on, estranged, too.

  48. @Brutusale

    OT, Jim, you have busy mornings, commenting in the Boston Herald and iSteve!

    Yeah, I don’t know where it comes from. The best I can come up with in 20 seconds or less, each.

  49. @Jim Christian

    It would suit me to have a couple of vintage weeks where the pros play with what Jack and Arnie played with on classic courses that are out of the rota because of equipment of today.

    That would be cool! I would watch that.

    Sorta like how some classical musicians play 18th century music with 18th century instruments.

    Take that, Dustin Johnson.

  50. @Barnard

    Yeah, it’s kind of off putting (pun intended) that a guy who is -3 after 54 holes is tied for 44th, and the winner is -19 after 72. That’s a birdie every 4 holes.

  51. @Hodag

    Nobody from Antarctica has won a major.

    - Art Deco

  52. @Barnard

    I think limits on equipment, similar to forcing baseball players to use wood bats are a necessity in golf at this point.

    I agree completely. The equipment is making a lot of old “classic” courses obsolete and turning a lot of Par 5 into a joke. It used to be “going for the green” on your 2nd shot was a big gamble, now its just routine. Not making an eagle on some PGA par 5′s is a disappointment.

    We can’t keep making the courses longer, and you can only trick the greens up so much. Limiting the equipment, especially the golf ball, is the answer.

  53. Anonymous[161] • Disclaimer says:

    Why catching Jack won’t happen:

    Classic Tiger (on roids) was strong and supremely confident thru sat-sun’s of every tournament.

    Modern Tiger is a bit fatigued and not-so-confident by Sunday. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the epic late runs of yesteryear. He can’t do the old T regimen — longtime chronic users have too many issues.

    Do the math. Tiger’s career stats are about as real as Barry Bonds.

  54. ex-banker says:
    @Jim Christian

    Lofts have changed dramatically — Taylormade and Callaway are the marketing engines of the sport and are the ones who’ve driven the process. This chart lays it out:

    I agree with the perspective that most of the advances beyond drivers with larger clubheads and cavity-backed irons have made little difference for the vast majority of golfers. The incremental improvements do matter for the elite level players, especially combined with Trackman. The ability to find and adjust the club that provides optimal launch/spin for a given swing is the most important factor in the evolution of the pro game since the introduction of the ProV1.

    • Agree: Jim Christian
    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  55. ex-banker says:
    @Jim Christian

    They’ve talked about the narrowing a lot over the past few weeks.

    That the USGA and the members wouldn’t trick up the course is laughable. Have you watched any of the post-mortems on the 2004 Open at Shinnecock?

  56. @Marty

    Poulter leads! Good guess.

    So far!

  57. @ex-banker

    Lofts changed for the perimeter-weighted game-improvement clubs, no? Forged blades in musclebacks, Hogan’s and Tiger’s old forged Victory irons we could buy in the stores never budged. So says my guy at Edwin Watts, anyway. He was so disappointed I wasn’t calling for new stix! Told him once every ten years, twenty is plenty.

  58. @AnotherDad

    Playing even a hit-and-giggle exhibition with persimmon for laughs would be frowned upon. Even the notion would be for them to admit that there’s a problem. On Tour, they jack around with these clubs in ways that no purchaser of clubs ever would, aside from a little lead tape maybe. Every club maker has a trailer at every event. Apparently, everything they do is legal. Around here, I see Sunday duffers jacking around with the screw-adjusters in their Taylor Made M-4 drivers in the middle of their rounds. Or are they Callaways? Searching for their game, heh..Legal?

    Maybe some of this gets addressed in the rules coming out next year.

  59. anon[202] • Disclaimer says:

    I caddied for a good Wilson pro in the sixties and would have given him a six-iron for the shot DJ made with a nine.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  60. Johnson should be very, very careful should he ever play the Bois des Sioux course in Wahpeton and Breckenridge. Any indiscretions after the ninth hole would be covered by the Mann Act.

  61. @Marty

    Poulter will win it.

    He should marry Ann Coulter.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  62. @Reg Cæsar

    Rumor has it that she’s “good friends” with Jimmie Walker who looks about 87 years old.

    Dyno-mite! IIRC.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  63. @anon

    I saw Tiger outdrive Dustin today.

  64. @Bitfu

    I’m not an avid golf fan; I watch only the majors.

    Until today, my rooting interest was: anybody but Tiger Woods. Thanks to your comment, I am now: anybody but Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  65. ex-banker says:

    Live and in-person too? Expecting a full report.

  66. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    They call her “Dash Nine” for a reason.
    I guess because the UP 844 burns fuel oil, not coal…..

  67. @I, Libertine

    You got your wish. Tiger slammed the trunk and Dustin blew his lead away, he’s T3 with about 5 guys.. Two guys you never heard of are the final group. Dustin is two or three groups ahead.

    I didn’t think DJ would make the cut, Before it’s over, he’ll be at the cut’s score. I can’t imagine who’s gonna win it now.

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