Dustin Johnson has recorded a T4 and T7 at the Byron Nelson Championship the last two years, so it’s no surprise CBS’ loquacious analyst Gary McCord picked him as one of his two favorites to win (with the other being Rory Sabbatini). McCord gave Dustin a little pep talk that CBS distributed in a press release. “It’s time to quit falling asleep out there Dustin and start winning on a consistent level,” said McCord.
And what would DJ say to that? Well, he spoke about being the “next big thing” during his pre-tourney presser at the TPC Four Seasons on Wednesday. Basically, winning is really hard.
“There are so many good players on our Tour, so it’s tough,” said Johnson. “It’s tough to win; it’s tough to win any event out here, especially a major. Everything has to go right that week. You have to hit it well, you have to drive it well, and you have to putt well, so there are a lot of things that have to go right for you to win. It’s tough, and there are so many good players out here from young to the veterans, so it’s really tough.”
Good news is DJ has a new and diligent full-time looper on his bag in Joe LaCava after LaCava received the green light from his former boss Fred Couples to take the job. With LaCava’s experience and DJ’s talent, the two should make a formidable team.
Johnson has had an up-and-down year. Since his second-place finish at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, the 26-year-old power-hitter has only seen weekend play two out of his last four starts, with his best showing T38 at the Masters.
Johnson admits to struggling recently and identifies the missing link in his game.
“I think my game is okay,” said Johnson. “I don’t think it’s great right now. I’ve been working, trying to get the wedge game better. I’ve been struggling with the wedges and a little bit with putting lately. I think my short game is fine, I’ve been chipping it and bunkers are okay. I’ve been struggling on the greens and with my wedges, but everything else is in order. I’m driving well, hitting my irons pretty well.
“I’ve been working hard on the wedge game. As soon as I start wedging it really well, then I think everything will turn around.”
Given his past success at the event and his fondness for TPC Four seasons, perhaps the pieces will fall together this week.
“I like the green complexes, you can work the ball into the hole locations,” said Johnson, “and the greens are good and I read the greens well, so I putt pretty good out here.”