Tag:Dustin Johnson
Posted on: March 8, 2012 7:12 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 7:48 pm

Video: Dustin Johnson nearly hits camera crane

By Shane Bacon

Dustin Johnson is known for a lot of things, but his length is number one. He can absolutely mash a golf ball off the tee, and the above video might be the best example of that ever. 

Granted, he wasn’t exactly trying to hit his drive near the camera crane on the par-4 18th at Doral on Thursday, but he did, and it turned out to be a pretty sweet view of a errant drive passing by. 

This isn't the first time Dustin has had issues with crazy drives at Doral. Just one year ago, Johnson hit a drive that struck his own grandfather on the fly, and talked about it after his round in 2011. 

Johnson made a bogey on the hole, shot 75 for the day, and is one of the many that has some clawing back to do for the rest of the Cadillac Championship. 

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Category: Golf
Posted on: February 25, 2012 8:09 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 11:09 pm

Mahan victory could be a 'short' story

By Steve Elling

MARANA, Ariz. -- Rest assured, America, Hunter Mahan has heard you.

Plenty of folks recall how much trouble the popular Yank had in the final match of the 2010 Ryder Cup, where his short-game shortcomings all but decided the clinching point for the European team.

He remembers it, too, with great clarity. It's something he's been trying to rectify for quite some time.

"Four years ago, I made my first Ryder Cup team, and I couldn't chip it from me to you," Mahan said Saturday.

After as many years of trying to remedy the situation, Mahan's finally got his wedge play and short game where it needs to be, which surely is a major reason why he's advanced to the semifinals Sunday in the Accenture Match Play Championship.
Mahan went to see a short-game coach a few months back, but it only made the problem worse, he said. His chipping and pitching were so bad, he and caddie John Wood had to find alternatives -- like putting as often as possible from off the green.

"Sometimes you can putt instead of chipping, which I did a lot," he said, laughing. "Sometimes I would be, 'All right, what can we do here? We have to get creative,' just because I didn't feel good about my chipping."

That mercifully began to change in the second half of 2011. Once a player with a terrific short game, it had seriously eroded, though not for a lack of trying to patch it up.

"I kind of remember how it happened," he said. "I saw a guy, because I was curious, 'Boy, I was a good chipper and all of a sudden I kind of lost it.' I remember I went and saw somebody and it didn't work out."

That's just the start of the story.

"At the end of the day, it made it worse," he said. "I saw people, but people can give you all the advice in the world and you have to trust it, believe it and you have to do it over and over and over again until it clicks. If you put the work in, it will. It's not rocket science."

Dustin Johnson has heard some of the same complaints about his short game.

"It's not like people say, it's not like D.J. is going to be a bad [chipper] or he just can't get good at it, I don't believe that. Anybody that's good at chipping or driving or iron play, there's usually a reason for it, it's not just luck. You just have to find those reasons why and work on it and try to do better."

Mahan said he finally turned the corner last year, though it was very gradual.

"I would be inconsistent one day, the next day would be good, and the next day not so good," he said. "Then I put it together back to back. I put some work in in January and I felt like the first tournament at Torrey Pines it was great. I kind of hit the corner, probably mid-January, is when I started feeling it when I practiced, I could do it like every day.

Mahan has been a fixture in the world top 25 for a couple of years, despite his admittedly shaky short-game issues over the majority of that period. How the heck did he pull that off?
"Well, it's not just a contest of skills," he said. "It's a contest of getting the ball in the hole. We talk about, 'D.J. can't chip or hit his wedges,' well, I don't know, he's pretty good. He could have a couple of majors in his pocket.  It's about getting the ball in the hole."

Now he's doing all of it better, not to mention faster.

Posted on: February 21, 2012 6:33 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 1:23 pm

Matches we'd love to see at the Accenture

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy shake hands earlier this season in Abu Dhabi. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

We know, we know, predicting things in golf is absolutely impossible, but the interesting nature of match play has us thinking ahead. What are the best possible matches that COULD happen this week at the Accenture? These are our favorite possible matchups. 

Nick Watney vs. Tiger Woods (second round) -- Any match Tiger is in will be featured, but I’d love see a player like Watney go up against him Tiger in a fairly even match.

Graeme McDowell vs. Hunter Mahan (second round) -- I’m fairly certain Mahan would love a piece of McDowell in match player after what happened at the 2010 Ryder Cup, and it would be the featured round of Thursday.  

Sergio Garcia vs. Keegan Bradley (second round) -- I’d like this just for the pre-match ceremony where Garcia hands over the “Incredibly Long Pre-Shot Gold Medal.” He’s held it for so many years!  

Adam Scott vs. Dustin Johnson (third round) -- I just like the idea of zero University of Arizona girls going to class on Friday so they can head out and see Mr. Scott vs. Mr. Johnson. 

Lee Westwood vs. Tiger Woods (third round) -- A clash of titans before the quarter-finals? Yes please.  

Rory McIlroy vs. Sergio Garcia (third round) -- Probably the best chance for McIlroy to get upset out of his bracket, Garcia is headed in playing some seriously good golf, and two of the bigger names in the game would bring tons of attention to the Gary Player bracket. 

Martin Kaymer vs. Bubba Watson (third round) -- I think just about everyone would be excited to see this rematch of the 2011 semi-finals, just as long as Kaymer leaves the scarf at home. 

Rory McIlroy vs. Jason Day (quarter-finals) -- I have a feeling this will happen, and I’m absolutely jazzed about it. 

Ben Crane vs. Kevin Na (quarter-finals) -- Can an entire match be put on the clock? Can even the guy putting people on the clock be put on the clock? No chance this isn't the final match of the day. It has to be!   

Rory McIlroy vs. Tiger Woods (semi-finals) -- Do I really need to explain why this would be awesome? 

Luke Donald vs. Tiger Woods (finals) -- Because I’d really like to see Tiger get his first win in something like this, over a bunch of big names, the last being the world number one. I think that would really show just where he is with his golf game, and give the guy about a 400 percent boost, confidence-wise. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter.  

Posted on: July 17, 2011 3:37 pm

Different twist leads to familiar end for D.J.

SANDWICH, England -- Just like with a certain left-handed fellow American whose putter failed him, it wasn't exactly hard to pinpoint the moment that cost Dustin Johnson a shot at the world's oldest major.

After making two birdies on the back nine to move within two strokes of leader and playing partner Darren Clarke, a hole on which Johnson's length should have been decisive turned into his complete undoing.

Ultimately, it was an advantage only in theory.

On the par-5 14th, Johnson jacked a 2-iron approach shot out of bounds, leading to a double-bogey and ending any realistic chance of catching Clarke, who cruised to a three-stroke lead over Johnson and Phil Mickelson.

Johnson, playing in the final group for the third time in the past six Grand Slam events, once again was left to watch another man raise a trophy overhead.

"It was brutal out there," Johnson said. "I think I held up pretty well. I hung in there all day, made some birdies on the back to get back in there and just unfortunately made the double bogey on 14, which really just took all my momentum out."

We figured that part out already. If the outcome seems vaguely familiar, Johnson had well-chronicled Sunday missteps in the final group at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship last year, which he seemed to shake off quickly.

"He got off to a shaky start, but D.J. is a fighter, he won’t quit," swing coach Butch Harmon said. "He hung in there beautifully and came back and made those birdies to get right back at the top of the leaderboard.
"He did the hard part on 14 -- he hit the drive perfect. He had just put that 2-iron in the bag this week, he hadn’t played with a 2-iron all year and he figured he'd hit it up in front of the green and make a birdie and get within one or so of the lead.

"And then disaster strikes. It's a cruel game."

No doubt, and Johnson was already second-guessing himself.

"I probably should have hit 3-wood," he said. "I mean, I'm two back with the rest of the holes coming in are pretty tough. Out here you don't really get too many opportunities to make birdie, so it was definitely a 'go' situation."

Johnson started the day one shot behind Clarke, then fell behind by four heading to the back nine. Birdies on Nos. 10 and 12 seemingly set the stage for the 14th, where Johnson's strength -- he led the field in driving distance -- should have given him a look at birdie or eagle. A debilitating double was the result instead.

"It's a tough shot because you've got O.B. just to the right of the green, it's into the wind, you’re trying to chase a low, hot iron up there and bounce it up on the front of the green and you just don’t pull it off," Harmon said. "He's not wanting to finish second, he's trying to win and he knows Darren has been unflappable and you've got to do something. He tried to do it and it just didn’t work."

Johnson, 27, has a remarkably laid-back personality, but you have to wonder if there's any cumulative damage accumulating given the way things have played out for him in the majors lately.
"It always bothers you, but you can’t go back and replay it so you have to go forward and take the positives from it," Harmon said. "He played phenomenally all week, he really did.

"He made one bad swing with a 2-iron and it cost him having a chance. I'm not sure he would have won because Clarke was playing so well."

Johnson was left to repeat a phrase that he admittedly has uttered far too many times of late.

"Obviously, like I say all the time," he said, "the more I put myself in this situation, the better, the more I learn, the more I understand my game and what happens in this situation."

So far, what's happened has mostly been hurtful.

"He is one of the most resilient players I have ever seen," Harmon said. "He'll be back."

Posted on: June 2, 2011 7:00 pm

Caddie swap doesn't throw D.J., Couples for loop

DUBLIN, Ohio -- To shamelessly swipe a rather famous song lyric: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

In an interesting subplot during the first two days of the Memorial Tournament, Fred Couples and Dustin Johnson were placed in the same group, just weeks after Couples' longtime caddie went to work for the latter, younger star.

Veteran looper Joe LaCava has teamed with Couples for two decades, and when Johnson parted ways with his old caddie, Bobby Brown, LaCava was given the job at the Players Championship. Johnson said there was no tension in the first round Thursday -- quite the contrary.

Not that he or Couples are the high-strung dramatic type, anyway.

"It was fine," said Johnson, who shot 68 and is tied for fifth. "Freddie is a great guy. There's no hard feelings there. You know, we talked about it the other day.  But everything is good, and I'm happy to have Joe working on the bag for me. I'm looking forward to having a few good weeks here coming up."

Couples has been playing sporadically of late on the senior tour because of injuries, and Johnson certainly presents more earnings potential.

"There's no bad blood or anything like that," Johnson said. "They were together for 21 years and are really close friends. Yeah, it was nice. We had a great time out there today."

Johnson, who used a couple of short-term stand-in caddies until hiring LaCava, gave his version on hos the pairing came to be.

"Well, obviously I was looking for a caddie, and Freddie was -- he's hurt, he's struggling with his back right now, so Joe came and caddied for me at the Players and he wanted a full time job, so I said yeah," Johnson said.

After years of working for a power player like Couples, it didn't take long for LaCava to grasp the nuances of Johnson's power game, apparently.

"He's got it dialed in already," Johnson said. "I don't think it, especially with good guys, it doesn't take very long to 'club' people."

Posted on: February 18, 2011 10:57 am
Edited on: February 18, 2011 11:07 am

No Gray area: Golf Channel benches reporter

Golf Channel reporter Jim Gray, who got in hot water last fall after engaging in a heated exchange with Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin, has been removed from further network coverage at this week's PGA Tour event in Los Angeles after precipitating another emotional incident.

Gray, a free-lance reporter who long has been known for his bold reportorial style, was benched Friday by the network after players and caddies in Dustin Johnson's threesome complained after Gray questioned Johnson during live play in the first round of the Northern Trust Open.

Johnson arrived late for his tee time Thursday morning and was penalized two shots, a story that became a headline during the first round. Gray spoke briefly with Johnson during the middle of his round and asked questions about why he was late to the tee, then reported Johnson's remarks on the network's pregame show.

Bobby Brown, Johnson's caddie, was particularly upset about the interruption, which came on the back nine. As a general rule, reporters do not speak with players during live play unless the player initiates the discussion. Certainly in matters relating to more emotional issues, like rules issues or the gaffe that nearly got Johnson disqualified, that unwritten editorial tenet would doubly apply.

An agitated Brown profanely complained to reporters after the round and to Gray directly about the interruption. Playing partners Steve Stricker and D.A. Points were also said to angered by Gray's decision to question Johnson during live play.

The network issued a formal statement Friday: "Our focus is to provide the best possible golf coverage for our viewers. Anything else is a disservice. In order to avoid further distraction, we've decided to remove Jim from this particular assignment."

The network had no comment on Gray's long-term future and declined to make Gray available for comment.

Posted on: September 11, 2010 4:55 pm

Bloody Sundays still a hurdle for Johnson

LEMONT, Ill. – Rising American star Dustin Johnson has been applauded and feted for the past three months for his uncanny ability to bounce back from disappointment that would crush lesser players.

Heading into the final round of the BMW Championship, the rookie Ryder Cupper is right back in the mix, one shot out of the lead at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club.

A short memory is a terrific thing at times.

“I don't know, but I've always been that way,” Johnson said after shooting 68 Saturday. “I just don't let stuff bother me too much. You know, I try to always look forward. You can't really change what's happened in the past. You know, I've got a lot of other things to focus on, like tomorrow.”

Which is where a certain key point needs to be raised.

Johnson has had a chance on Sunday to win the U.S. Open, PGA Championship and Barclays over the past three months and hasn’t been able to get in the clubhouse fast enough.

Evidence suggests that there might be some sort of hangover from his final-round 82 at the U.S. Open after all.

Johnson held a three-shot lead heading into the final round of the Open at Pebble Beach and played his first four holes in 6 over and was never in contention thereafter. Johnson held a one-shot lead on the 72nd hole at the PGA Championship and was credited with a triple-bogey after committing a rules violation in a fairway bunker. He flirted with the lead at The Barclays before his driver betrayed him again.

Starting at Pebble Beach, Johnson has played his last six final rounds at a combined 18 over par and has been above par every time.

So, while the 26-year-old has all the markings of a top-10 player for the next decade and has been lauded by players such as Phil Mickelson, he’s still very much a work in progress.

Category: Golf
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