The Claret Jug is one of the most iconic trophies in all of sports. The winner of the British Open is rewarded as the Champion Golfer of the Year. The Old Course at St Andrews is one of the oldest courses in the world. The links course is considered the home of golf. The One, The Open.
Dustin Johnson opened day by shooting 7-under (65) at the home of golf in St. Andrews and showing no sings of defeat where he lost the U.S. Open a month ago by one shot to Jordan Spieth. DJ was the player to beat in The Open.
It was like watching 50-shades of grey with the majority of the golfers wearing some shade of grey on the course for the tournament. The grey added to the lovely summer forecast in Scotland that consisted of rain and heavy wind gusts approaching 40 mph. Not ideal weather for Friday’s round two. DJ came to play shooting a 69 and leading round two with 10 under par. No one hits it farther or better with the driver than DJ and golf analysts have called DJ The longest straight driver of our generation.
The world of golf was ready for Jordan Speith and Johnson to take rounds 3 and 4 to another Sunday (Monday) showdown for a major. A ten-hour weather delay later and DJ wasn’t the same golfer we saw on Thursday and Friday. Saturday/Sunday rounds should have separated DJ from the rest of the field and lead him to his first major victory. Instead, DJ shot a 75 in round three dropping him from first place to 18th on the leaderboard. Thursday and Friday DJ made ten birdies. He made one birdie and bogeyed four in round three.
DJ needed this best round of golf in round four but instead he made five bogeys and one double bogey. Only eleven golfers finished over par. DJ, with three-over par, was the second-worst player in the field of 80 golfers for round four.
Oh, Dustin. It’s hard to watch a golfer with so much power and talent breakdown on the course. His ability to handle disappointment is either admirable or concerning. He remains so calm and keeps his composure during moments where most of us would have a physical meltdown.
Will he ever win? Yes, he’s too talented not to win! Does he need a physiatrist instead of his brother as his caddie? Maybe, maybe not…
I’ve been a fan of DJ since our college days at Coastal Carolina University and at the time I don’t think he even knew how talented he was. It’s hard to watch your friend struggle on and off the course when you know they have the talent to win majors. He is too good to fall this hard again and again. But DJ’s reaction to losing isn’t shocking. He’s more of a shy person. Soft spoken and keeps a small, close circle. DJ was at the party, but he never wanted or needed to be the life of the party.
Having his younger brother caddie for him gives DJ the comfort of someone he trusts close by even if few words are spoken on the course. DJ isn’t a chatterbox and Austin respects DJ’s moments of silence.
But there’s something missing from DJ’s mental game that isn’t allowing him to thrive under pressure. Instead, he struggles. DJ will find a way to win a major and when he feels that confidence and relieves the pressure of winning his first major, the rest will come easier. I believe in DJ and the day will come when he too is respected and revered as a major champion.