Dustin Johnson is willing to put up with some drama at the U.S Open, as long as it ends in victory.
At the 2015 U.S. Open, Johnson was tied for the lead entering the final round. He had sole possession of the lead until a string of bogeys on the back nine opened the door for Jordan Spieth, who led by one stroke after a birdie on the 18th hole. With a chance to tie and send the tournament to a Monday playoff, Johnson missed a 4-foot putt that handed the win to Spieth.
Then in the final round of last year’s U.S. Open, controversy threatened to upend Johnson’s chances of winning. While he was preparing to putt on the fifth green, his ball moved slightly. Since Johnson hadn’t addressed the ball, the movement shouldn’t cost him a stroke, and a USGA rules official agreed. But on the 12th hole, Johnson was informed that he might be penalized a stroke at the end of his round. Fortunately, it didn’t matter. Johnson kept his focus and overcame that 1-stroke penalty to win his first career major by three strokes.
“It really is redemption from last year and there is no player out here that deserves it more than Dustin Johnson,” FOX golf analyst Brad Faxon said after Johnson’s win. “In that situation, he just had the mental fortitude to just stay with it. You know the tagline, it’s cliché but, ‘Stay in the present.’ He did it better than anybody did this whole week.”
World No. 1 Johnson will hope for the same outcome with less drama when he defends his title at the 117th U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. His 2017 major season didn’t get off to a great start — he missed The Masters in April after injuring his back falling on some stairs — but should be in shape for the year’s second major. Johnson’s top competition includes Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, Henrik Stenson and 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia.
U.S. Open TV Schedule
June 15 — First Round, 11am-6pm, FS1; 6-9pm, FOX
June 16 — Second Round, 11am-6pm, FS1; 6-9pm, FOX
June 17 — Third Round, 11am-8pm, FOX
June 18 — Final Round, 11am-8:30pm, FOX
June 19 — Playoff (If Necessary), 12-4pm, FOX