What’s more difficult – winning a major or becoming World No. 1? Well, Dustin Johnson has now done both and it’s clear which he holds in higher esteem.
“To be No. 1 in the world you’ve got to play very well for a long period of time,” Johnson said after reaching the summit of the rankings. “Winning a major is unbelievably difficult too but you only have to play well for four days.”
But the 32-year-old US Open champion’s journey to becoming the best player on the planet has been far from easy. NCG’s James Broadhurst looks at the crushing lows and flying highs that have shaped DJ’s career to date…
It is often said that you learn more from failure than success.
Well if that is the case, Johnson will have learnt a lot from his fair share of major meltdowns.
At Pebble Beach during the 2010 US Open, Johnson held a three-shot lead over Graeme McDowell heading into the final round after carding rounds of 71, 70 and 66.
But a shocking start on the crucial last day saw him drop rapidly out of contention. A triple-bogey on the second hole and a double on the third kicked off what would be a final-round score of 82 and a tie for eighth place.
Then two months later at the PGA Championship, Johnson birdied 16 and 17 on the final day to take a one-shot lead with one hole to play, but bogeyed the final hole to apparently tie for the lead.
But it was later ruled that he had grounded his club in a bunker just off the 18th fairway. He was given a two-stroke penalty and fell into a tie for fifth.
Johnson then missed a golden opportunity to clinch his first major at the 2011 Open at Royal St George’s.
Opening rounds of 70-68-68 left him one stroke behind eventual champion Darren Clarke. But his final round charge was derailed at the 14th when his second shot went out of bounds and led to a double bogey.
And then there was Chambers Bay.
Johnson faced a 12-foot eagle putt on the 72nd hole to win the 2015 US Open, but his effort rolled past and, even more scandalously, he missed the short birdie putt and handed the title to Jordan Spieth.
But things were about to get worse for Johnson…