Last week, Dustin Johnson withdrew from the PGA FedEx St. Jude Classic, due to “illness.”
“Maybe it [was] the heat or something. I just wasn’t feeling well,” Johnson said.
He had also bogeyed his first three holes and turned in a 38 on the front nine.
But let’s go with the heat theory.
Regardless, Johnson turned himself around in time for the U.S. Open. He currently shares the co-leader position with Henrik Stenson after shooting a 5-under-par 65 in the tournament’s opening round at Chambers Bay Golf Course.
“I’m here to play golf and put myself in a position on Sunday to have a chance to win,” said Johnson. “I thought I played really solid all day. They had some really tough flags and pins that you could get close to.”
Johnson has always used his length to his advantage. He is, after all, the longest hitter on the tour with an average distance of 318 yards. However, at Chambers distance is useless if you can’t hit the fairway. And Johnson was able to perform, despite being the 176th best on tour for driving accuracy.
“It helps to hit it longer, only if you’re hitting it straighter,” said Johnson. “If you’re not in the fairway, doesn’t matter how far you got, it’s hard to get it close to the hole.”
Johnson has eight PGA Tour titles under his belt and comes off a 13th place finish at Memorial two weeks ago. He’s been working with Woods’ first swing coach, Butch Harmon, to prepare for the event as well as looking at the course online.
“Honestly, I really didn’t know what to think when I first got here on Saturday. I looked at it online and saw some pictures of it and I thought it looked great. So I was excited to come. And when I did, I played it for the first time, I thought it was a great course to play.”
The course sets up well for Johnson because of the wide fairways. If he can control his ball and bounce, he will surely be able to go low tomorrow.
“I really felt like I swung it well all day I hit a couple bad drives and then I hit, really only one bad iron, and that was on number nine,” said Johnson. “Other than that, I felt like I swung it well and hit a lot of quality iron shots. So the confidence is definitely there.”
Johnson carded six birdies and two bogies with a missed 15-foot par on the steeply downhill par-3 ninth hole.
Reed, Day and Martin are riding Johnson and Stenson’s heels at four-under-par. Spieth is tied for 7th at -2 and Mickelson sits tied 15th at -1.
As for Tiger?
I won’t go into that…