Johnson, world’s No. 1 player finding his form at last,
World’s No. 1 hopes to salvage mediocre year in final major.
Dustin Johnson has one last chance at a major championship to prove he didn’t leave his game at the bottom of that staircase.
The PGA Championship this week marks the final shot for the world’s topranked player to contend for a major during an otherwise lost year that went haywire after a tumble down the stairs forced him out of the Masters.
That fall not only wrenched his back, it wrecked his season.
“Obviously, it’s really frustrating. But things happen,” Johnson said Tuesday. “You’ve just got to deal with them, and you know, I feel like the golf game’s in really good shape right now.”
It seemed unthinkable that Johnson would come to the year’s final major without even challenging for one. He won three straight tournaments before that fateful trip to Augusta, where he slipped down the stairs at his rental home and hurt his back, an injury that kept him out of the season’s first major.
Johnson missed the cut at the U.S. Open, then fell behind early at the British Open and finished in a tie for 54th place — 16 strokes behind winner Jordan Spieth.
Johnson admitted that he lost “a little feel, a little touch” in his short game during his layoff, and that when he rebuilt his repertoire, he “probably did it in the wrong order.
“If I would have just been working on (the short game),
The PGA Championship’s move to May in 2019 will cause the biggest change to the golf schedule in more than a decade.
Still to be determined is just how much.
The PGA of America confirmed Tuesday that its major championship is leaving the mid-summer date it has had for some 50 years. It will be a week after Mother’s Day, giving it a spot between the Masters and the U.S. Open.
“We feel May is a far then my long game wouldn’t have needed to be as good, because then I could get up and down,” he said. “When you get an injury, it’s tough to say what to do first or how to work back into it. more powerful date for us to contest our major championship,” said Pete Bevacqua, PGA of America’s chief executive.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said The Players Championship would be returning to March, its traditional spot on the golf calendar, in 2019.
The tour’s goal is to finish the FedEx Cup around Labor Day, before the NFL season begins. The PGA Championship’s move enables that.
But still to be determined is what PGA Tour events fall in around them.
“The problem was, I wasn’t driving it very well, so I just didn’t get many opportunities to hit wedge from the fairway. But I feel like the driver is going very well now. I feel like I’ve got a lot of control over it. I feel like I’m hitting good shots with it. They are going where I’m looking. I think this is going to be a very good week.”
He’s seeing some concrete evidence of improvement.
Johnson has held the world No. 1 ranking for 25 consecutive weeks. The week after the British Open, he finished in a tie for eighth at the RBC Canadian Open, and he followed that with a tie for 17th at the Bridgestone Invitational.
On a scale of 1 to 10, Johnson says his game rated as a 3 when he first returned from the injury but says it’s “about an 8½ right now.”
“I felt like I got some things worked out in the swing that were just holding me back a little bit,” Johnson said. “Right now, I feel it’s close to when I was playing really well before Augusta than I have, and you know, since then. The golf swing’s there. I feel good. My body feels great. I’m looking for a really good week this week.”
A fall down the stairs set Dustin Johnson back this season.