Laidback No.1 Johnson takes Augusta expectations in his stride
IT seems being the world No.1 suits Dustin Johnson down to an absolute tee. Since assuming this global position of authority, a lofty stature which can often give some players a dizzying bout of vertigo, Johnson has won two events on the spin.
His battling victory over the tenacious, swashbuckling Spaniard, John Rahm, in the WGC-Dell Matchplay Championship on Sunday was his third victory in succession and strengthened his place at the head of the world order. With the Masters just over a week away, many are already visualising him easing his arms into the sleeves of the Green Jacket.
It’s not hard to imagine, of course. Johnson is riding the crest of a wave at the moment and is in one of those zones where even this most capricious of games seems easy. “Some days it does but about 95 per cent of the days it does not,” said the 32-year-old.
“When you’re rolling in putts, that’s when the game gets pretty easy.”
Johnson will now go into a major championship as the world No 1 for the first time in his career. Pressure? What pressure? “How do I like it? I don’t care,” he said with his trademark shrug. “I mean, it’s still just a ranking. I don’t feel any different. I still go in every week preparing the same that I always have.”
The ominous sign for those playing catch-up is that Johnson feels there is plenty left in the locker. “It’s impossible to win every week, I know that, but being No 1, kind of drives me to work harder and to get better,” he added. “And I think I can get better with all aspects of the game.”
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy, the world No.2, has confirmed that he won’t be playing in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links this season.
The domestic showpiece is staged the week before the Open Championship but McIlroy will play in his own Irish Open over the links of Portstewart the week before the Scottish event and then 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB. email: [email protected]herald.co.uk. Tel 0141 302 6590 Head of Sport: Stewart Weir head to Royal Birkdale for the third major of the season.
McIlroy last played in the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen in 2014, and then won the Open the following week at Hoylake. His missed the 2015 Scottish Open at Gullane through injury which also saw him miss out on the defence of the Claret Jug at St Andrews. McIlroy did not enter last year’s Scottish Open at Castle Stuart.
Major winners Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson have already confirmed their attendance at Dundonald.