Dustin Johnson press conferences make you think. After all, somebody has to.
Most golfers will give lengthy answers to, well, basically anything. Just ramble an incoherent question and you can get a usable answer.
“So, the course, it’s, um, outside…” And then you wait. The player will do all the work and give you a five minute answer.
Not Dustin though.
On Wednesday at Hazeltine he met with the media alongside Patrick Reed and Zach Johnson. Dustin answered 13 questions and, like always, his interview transcript fit on one double-sided piece of paper. He’s great for the environment.
In comparison, Zach Johnson answered six questions in three pages. Patrick Reed answered eight question in four pages.
More and more though Dustin’s ability not to overthink things is being seen as a strength on the golf course. On Wednesday he was asked whether the American team is still looking to make up for the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah. Johnson said no and explained that golfers, much like, defensive backs in football need to have a short memory. A few minutes later he was asked to expand on that thought.
Q. I want to go back to your defensive back comment, because you could probably say that your greatest strength is having a short memory, wouldn’t you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah. Or no memory (laughter).
Johnson is increasingly comfortable in his own skin. He still might not get the joke but he seems more and more happy to embrace the fact that he doesn’t. He was asked whether he had made any speeches in the American team room this week.
I’ve not made any speeches at this point, and probably not going to (smiles).
JOHN DEVER: You never know.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: You never know, right (smiling).
As golf writers we are used to players who are able to talk forever about nothing. We’re also lucky that there are a number of top young players who offer genuinely thoughtful and intelligent insight. But Dustin is different because we are used to readers saying “who cares about this stuff?”, but it’s a little shocking, and surprisingly refreshing to hear it from the athlete.
– Jon McCarthy