Putting to one side the speculation and rumours surrounding Dustin Johnson’s break from the game – it is a massive blow for Tom Watson and the USA Ryder Cup Team.

Johnson has been knocking on the door at major championships for a good few years now and although he hasn’t been able to get over the line in a big one – I’ve always thought it was a matter of time.

He put on a good showing at the US Open and The Open and seems to be a bit less streaky than in the past.

I spoke to Tony Jacklin a few weeks back about who he thought was favourite to win at Gleneagles next month and he was quick to back Watson’s men.

Who was the first USA player he mentioned? Dustin Johnson.

There are other factors in play other than the fact he has performed solidly in majors, is fifth in the USA Ryder Cup points list and is ranked 16th in the world.
It will be interesting to see if Phil Mickelson can take advantage of the extra space becoming available His 3 and 0 performance at Medinah proved he can compete in the pressure cooker, match play environment of a Ryder Cup. 

He makes a great partner in fourballs and foursomes and would be a daunting singles opponent, especially for a European rookie.

And looking at the automatic qualifiers currently in the USA team, the loss of Johnson suddenly makes them look a tad lightweight.

Obviously the additions of Mickelson and Woods will bolster the line-up, but a hole has been left by the big-hitting 30-year-old.

And the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles would have suited a bomber like DJ.

I was lucky enough to be stood a couple of feet away from Johnson as he pasted a drive a good 380-yards down the 16th fairway at Royal Liverpool.

Playing partner Sergio Garcia nailed his tee shot and was a good 50 yards behind.

So I’d be interested to ask Mr Jacklin if his opinion has changed with Johnson missing out.

It is a shame as I’d much prefer to see a full strength USA team in Scotland. 

It will be interesting to see if Phil Mickelson can take advantage of the extra space becoming available in the qualifying list.

It will then mean Watson can pick Woods and two others, rather than using two picks on Mickelson and Woods.

Either way, they will still bring a strong side to Perthshire on September 23 but one of their big weapons will not be on the plane.