When Dustin Johnson first met Whistling Straits in 2010, it was love at first site. The popular American – then 26 and a proven winner on TOUR – headed to the final hole of the PGA Championship with a one stroke lead. A par to win his first major championship. A bogey to get into a playoff.
What Johnson didn’t know was that Whistling Straits was a drama queen. If there wasn’t controversy, she wasn’t happy. That’s when she ripped out Johnson’s heart and put it through a paper shredder.
Johnson was given a two-stroke penalty for grounding his club in a “waste bunker”, changing a bogey 5 into a triple-bogey 7 and missing out on the playoff. Five years on, time has healed open wounds and Johnson is willing to give Whistling Straits another chance.
“It’s a golf course I like and I played well here in 2010, so I was excited to come back,” said Johnson.
That he was. Johnson shot a near-flawless round of 66, sitting at 6 under par and looking down on the chasing pack, including former world number one Tiger Woods.
Johnson took advantage of an early tee-time when conditions were benign compared to later in the day.
“Today was pretty easy, I would have to say,” said Johnson. “I was swinging well and I was hitting the shots where I was looking and I really felt like I was just super patient, stayed focused all day.
Woods shot a 75 that left him three over par and on route to a third-straight missed cut at a major championship. The highlight of Woods’ round came at the third hole when he spectacularly blew up and asked himself the question every golfer on the planet has wanted to say to him this year.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” screamed Woods. Alas, Woods is acknowledging his problems.
Tournament favorites Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are currently on the course. More to come later.