5 BURNING QUESTIONS: DUSTIN JOHNSON
DUSTIN JOHNSON’S victory at the St. Jude Classic saw him return to World No.1. He’s also only the third player in PGA Tour history to win a title in each of his first 11 seasons. The other two? Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Pretty good company to keep. The 34-year-old tells Golf Australia about tackling Tiger, shot clocks on tour and his Ryder Cup predictions. 1 How important was it to regain your position as World No.1? Losing it is going to motivate me to work harder and get my game back into the form that I think it should be in. You don’t get anything for number one but it is nice being labelled the best golfer in the world. It means a lot. Sometimes I’ll sit and think about it. It’s a pretty big accomplishment and I’m definitely proud of myself for making it to number one, but most importantly I want to stay here. To do that I’ve got to keep pushing myself and working hard. If I keep playing like I am and how I should then I’m going to stay number one. I’ve got a lot of confidence in my game right now. 2 Does it give a tournament an extra edge when Tiger is in contention? It’s good for the game, him being back. It brings a lot more attention; a lot more people are watching and talking about it. He’s still got a bit of an intimidation factor. It is Tiger Woods; he’s probably one of the best players to ever play the game. I would like to shake hands with Tiger on Sunday on the first tee, if we were both leading. I think that would be a lot of fun. You hope that he plays well, but I can’t really worry about what Tiger’s doing; I’ve got enough to worry about with myself. 3 Much is made of your length, with some saying you guys hit it too far. Where do you stand on that? Length’s an advantage on any golf course, but you’ve still got to hit it straight. If you hit it far and you’re in the trees, length doesn’t really matter. I don’t think I hit it too far. The game is not easy. Yeah, there’s occasions where you get downwind, downhill on firm ground and the ball goes a long way, but when you’re straight into the wind, it ain’t going that far. 4 How do you rate yourself as a match play golfer and how do you think the Ryder Cup will pan out? Match play is definitely difficult. We don’t get too much experience playing it, but it’s something I always enjoy. It’s just you versus one other guy. If you play well, usually that takes care of your opponent. There are certain situations where you’re kind of playing him, but for the most part you’re just there trying to make as low a score as you can on every hole. I think it’s going to be a very difficult match, like it always is in the Ryder Cup. It’s always tougher to win when it’s not your home turf, so we’re going to have to go over there and play very well. We’re going to have a very good team, so if we go over there and play really good golf, I like our chances. 5 The European Tour’s Shot Clock Masters penalised players for taking too long. Would you like to see a similar thing on the PGA Tour? Yeah, absolutely. I think it would be very interesting. You’d see a lot of guys getting penalised on our tour. I’d have plenty of time but a lot of guys wouldn’t. They would be getting a penalty on every hole.
IF I KEEP PLAYING LIKE I AM AND HOW I SHOULD THEN I’M GOING TO STAY NUMBER ONE. I’VE GOT A LOT OF CONFIDENCE IN MY GAME.