Johnson sure learning process is taking him towards major

American Dustin Johnson insists he has what it takes to win a major despite his latest near-miss raising more questions about his temperament to get the job done.

USA's Dustin Johnson on the 12th hole during a practice day ahead of The Open Championship.

A month ago the 31-year-old had a 12ft putt to win the 
US Open but three-putted to hand victory to Masters champion Jordan Spieth, a result which kept alive the latter’s hopes of an unprecedented single-season grand slam heading into this week’s Open Championship at St Andrews.

Johnson has previous in this regard, having squandered a three-stroke lead on the final day of the 2010 US Open to lose to Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell,

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Then, two months later, he missed out on a place in a play-off at the US PGA after incurring a two-stroke penalty for grounding his club in a bunker having teed off at the final hole one shot ahead.

In 2011, in the Open at Royal St George’s, Johnson was in contention once again entering the back nine on the final day but his chance evaporated when he drove out of bounds on the 14th.

Four years passed without major incident until his aberration on the 18th at Chambers Bay, but Johnson is adamant he does not bear any scars from his latest brush with greatness.

“I think it’s very good, very positive. It gives me the confidence to know I have what it takes to win,” he said at 
St Andrews ahead of this week’s 144th Open.

“I think I showed that at the US Open. Coming down the back nine I was hitting the shots that I wanted to hit; unfortunately the ball wasn’t bouncing in the hole.

“I think every situation you can learn from, it just depends on the way you want to look at it.

“I try to look at them all as learning opportunities. Each one helps me get closer to actually getting a major.”

Johnson’s reaction to his choke at Chambers Bay was to skip the presentation ceremony and head off with his family. He claims he was not aware he was required to attend, as runner-up, but admits he wanted to be anywhere but there.

“I didn’t know but it was time to get out of there. I had had enough. I was ready to go,” he added. “I was a little bit frustrated, a little disappointed, but then coming off the green Paulina (his wife) and Tatum (six-month-old son) were standing there so that definitely made things a lot better.

“We all went just a short flight over to Coeur d’Alene in Idaho and just spent the night there, hung out with friends and family.”

Johnson has been drawn alongside Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama for the opening two rounds at St Andrews and the big-hitting Ryder Cup star is determined to bring Spieth’s quest for history to an end this week.

“Jordan is a good buddy of mine and so we have fun playing together,” he said. “I like playing with Jordan. No pressure, though.”

Asked what he thought of Spieth’s grand slam chances he replied: “Well, I’m playing in the next two, so we’ll have to see.”

Five-time champion Tom Watson gets his final Open appearance under way at 8.33am, the R&A having granted the 65-year-old a special exemption.

For all the first-day 
tee-off times go to www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/sport.

Susan Hoggett was the lucky winner of the recent The Yorkshire Post/Leeds Golf Centre competition and wins a place at an exclusive day of tuition with world-famous golf coach David Leadbetter.

Susan, of Murton, County Durham was chosen at random from many entrants who correctly provided The A Swing as the answer to the question: What is the name of David’s latest book?

There are a very limited number of spots still available on sale for the session with David Leadbetter.

For more information and to book your place, visit www.leedsgolfcentre.com or call the team on 0113 288 6000.