Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dustin's Disaster: He's Already Moving On

Dustin Johnson spent last week at home in Myrtle Beach, celebrating his 26th birthday with friends, hanging out on his boat, playing a little golf and letting the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach drift further away.

In a media session at the AT&T National this week, Johnson said he put his final-round 82 at the Open behind him about the time his plane cleared California air space. Nice try. Johnson said he was flooded with calls and messages about his Sunday collapse which kept the memory alive last week even if he'd have preferred to bury it at the bottom of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Johnson said he got a call from Greg Norman, who knows a thing or two about Sunday failures in major championships, but most were from friends, seeking to encourage him. He talked to friends about it and now he's ready to move on, teeing it up in Philadelphia this week in his first start since Pebble Beach.

Asked this week to reflect on what happened, Johnson said, essentially, he played badly at a bad time. As John Fox said about Jake Delhomme's infamous playoff performance, he picked a bad time to have a bad day.

It also goes back to the poor 52-degree wedge approach shot he hit at the 502-yard par-4 second hole (yes, he had a gap wedge for his second shot) that led to a triple-bogey that put everything in motion.

"I hit a poor shot coming in there, so if anything, maybe I should have been a little more aggressive on 2, on my approach shot, and then I wouldn't have been in that situation. But you know, that's golf," Johnson said this week

"The only thing I look back on is that hole, really. I think that hole kind of sets the tone for the tournament. If I hit a good shot in there and have a decent look at birdie, I think it's a totally different golf tournament...

"On 1, I hit a really good drive on 2. I didn't feel any different. I still was very confident, and I still -- even after 2 and 3 and 4, I hit some good shots, really good shots. Even hit a good shot on 5, it just went a little far. But it was just one of those days where I was just a little bit off and it just got magnified. It's the Sunday of the U.S. Open, the golf course was firmer and faster, and it was tough."

After talking with Norman, his friends and reflecting on how it slipped away, what does Johnson take from the experience?

"All of them told me that they learned more from cases they'd lose or from times that they'd lose than they did from when they'd win. Golf is a learning process nonstop. You know, there's a lot of things I think I can take from that Sunday," Johnson said.