Dustin Johnson has no one to blame for his epic U.S. Open collapse but himself.
Sure, there were legitimate concerns raised about the condition of the greens at Chambers Bay — according to the New York Post, the poa annua grass growing within the fescue grass created bumpy rolls on the greens that plagued competitors, Johnson included, all weekend. But Post golf writer George Willis points the blame squarely at Johnson’s utter inability to sink a putt when it mattered.
“The 115th U.S. Open was Johnson’s to lose as he made the turn at Chambers Bay on Sunday with a two-shot lead. But he did exactly that, losing it over and over again, betrayed by a putter that couldn’t find the hole.”
Heading into the 72nd hole (No. 18 at Chambers Bay), Johnson all but had his first major in his back pocket. He had a two-stroke lead, a ball on the green offering him a shot at an eagle, and an easy, downhill putt that would have given him the win. And when he missed his game-winner, he had another easy four-foot putt that would have forced a playoff against eventual winner Jordan Spieth. Instead, Johnson missed that one, too. He sank his third putt, settling for par — and for second place.
Speaking to reporters after his epic collapse, Johnson tried to blame the greens.
“Whatever the putt did on the last hole, I don’t know. I might have pulled it a little bit. But still to me, it looked like it bounced left. It’s tough. It’s very difficult.”
Still, Dustin admitted that his putting game had been off all day.
“I didn’t make any putts today. I really didn’t. I had all the chances in the world.”
Johnson’s U.S. Open collapse is the latest in a long string of failures to come through when it matters, says New York Daily News golf writer Hank Gola.
“Johnson keeps getting in his own way in every major he has a chance to win.”
In 2010 at Pebble Beach, Johnson had a three-shot lead, which he eventually squandered, going into the final round. Later in 2010, bad club choice helped Johnson blow a one-shot lead on the final hole at the PGA at Whistling Straits. And in 2011, he was within sight of the British Open when a shot into the rough blew his chance.
Still, Johnson kept a good attitude, despite his collapse.
“At the end of the day, golf is golf. I’ve got my family and that’s most important to me. My trophy at the end of the day is holding up my little man. I couldn’t be more proud of myself and my family. No matter what, I’m going to keep my head high and I’m going to be happy.”
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[Image courtesy of: Getty Images / Andrew Redington]