The 2017 PGA Tour season could have been so much different for Dustin Johnson. He entered the year with a bang, reeling off three wins before The Masters in April. The world No.1 Johnson was easily the favorite heading into golf’s version of the Super Bowl.
Unfortunately, Johnson ended up falling into some bad luck, literally. More specifically he would fall down into it when he fell down a flight of stairs at his rental house in Augusta. The fall hindered Johnson from being able to swing fully as it caused severe pain to his lower back. He would withdraw from the tournament just minutes before his group was set to tee off on Thursday afternoon.
Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from The Masters. Who is the new favorite? https://t.co/tDrcZBCDST
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 6, 2017
This would be the second time that a world No.1 would withdraw from the first tournament of the year. The first was Tiger Woods in 2014.
A back injury may be the most deadly to a golfer aside from an injury to one’s leg….unless you’re Woods, who can sever ligaments in his leg and still win the U.S. Open. The back and core are foundations for a golfer to pivot and rotate. Johnson owns a violent and powerful swing that would put a lot of stress on his back.
Imagine if Johnson hadn’t suffered that setback in the beginning of the year and kept his momentum going. He may have won one or two of this year’s major championships or at least came in the top-five of each.
As of Wednesday, Johnson holds the FedEx cup lead with 4,446 points heading into the Dell Technologies Championship this week in Boston. The only way he gets knocked out of first is if Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, or Hideki Matsuyama can get a win this weekend as this tournament is worth 2,000 points.
— The Reporters (@_TheReporters) August 28, 2017
Johnson is tied with Rory McIlroy and Woods for the most wins in the FedEx Cup playoffs with four. He has put himself in a great position to win that $10 million purse, but he’ll need to stay consistent with a few areas of his game.
Um duh, of course, DJ will have to continue to drive the ball well, that’s his greatest strength. It was what helped him win the Northern Trust Open this past weekend as his playoff hole with Jordan Spieth at the 18th essentially came down to a long-drive competition. Johnson obviously had the advantage.
"What about the lake?"
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) August 27, 2017
The line for Johnson’s tee-shot was dangerously risky but well rewarded. He’ll have to choose where and when to pick these type of risky shots because accuracy trumps length every day of the week.
Nailing long putts
The flat iron was something that plagued Johnson for years as he was only considered a one-trick pony with his driver. He finally started to figure out his putting stroke when he won the 2016 U.S. Open and that momentum carried over into the 2017 PGA Tour season.
It’s certain that the back injury probably played a role in not only his long game but putting stroke as well. If Johnson can drive the ball a million yards and sink anything within 15-feet then he will be the most dangerous player on tour the next few weeks.
Discovering the clutch gene
This field for the FedEx Cup is STACKED. You have guys like McIlroy who won this last year, Spieth who is just as hot as Johnson right now, and Justin Thompson coming into his own after a PGA Championship victory.
Sunday will not be the last time we see two guys battle it out in the back nine or a playoff hole during these playoffs. If Johnson wants to stay relevant then he’ll need to stay clutch.