The 2013 PGA Season opener is finally over, and Dustin Johnson is the last man standing. The 28 year old golfer from Columbia, South Carolina picked up the seventh win in his career that started in 2007. With at least one victory in each of his six years on tour, he joins Tiger Woods as the last person to accomplish this feat. He now needs to get that first major on his resume to put the exclamation point on an already brilliant career.
Johnson finished up The Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Kapalua Plantation Course with a final round -5 under par 68 on Tuesday afternoon, to beat playing partner Steve Stricker by four strokes. After cruising most of the front nine with three birdies, he crossed up his driver on the ninth hole, putting up his first bogey of the round.
He would make a double bogey on thirteen after another questionable drive where he pushed it right, into some brush. He went down and came close to running out of time looking for his ball before finding it with some help from Stricker. He gave Stricker and other competitors some hope when his once safe lead was down to one stroke. Then he did the unspeakable, pulled out the driver on the 14th tee and fired away again. He came up a couple of feet short of the green, and promptly chipped in for and eagle two, getting his lead back to three.
Announcer Johnny Miller was very critical of Johnson’s club and shot selection coming down the stretch. He voiced concerns that he would have to make some changes if he wanted to win a major. The strength of Dustin’s game is his driver, the club he goes to to get himself out of trouble, even when it is the trouble. Maybe Johnny Miller won his majors with a different thought pattern, but he needs to stick to telling us, the fans what is happening on the course, and quit giving players advice.
After a gruelling weekend of cancellations and wind delays, we got a bit little of humor on the 18th hole. Steve Stricker hit his drive down the left side, and caught a severe down slope getting him maybe a yard and a half closer than Johnson who was more in the middle of the fairway, Stricker took great pride in letting Dustin know he was away, and would have to play first. It was the only time all day that Steve wasn’t hitting first.
Steve Stricker played a fine round of golf on Tuesday, keeping Dustin honest. He was in obvious pain, with pain in his left leg. Being the defending champion, he had to be there, and had to play. He showed some big time professionalism when he went into the rough on thirteen to help Johnson look for his ball, and high five’d him after the eagle chip at 14. He is in every way a true champion. He will be taking some time off, and has committed to only ten tournaments in 2013. At 43 years old, he is going to spend some time getting healthy again, and time with his family.
Now it’s on to Honolulu, and the Sony Open.
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