I think it’s a bit of an understatement to suggest no golfer had a 2012 quite like Dustin Johnson did. There were rumors of a drug suspension. There were rumors that he and Natalie Gulbis were either were on again, off again or even gotten hitched. In the end, DJ’s manager denied the drug suspensions rumors and Johnson and Gulbis were no longer an item.
Then there was the season he put together on the golf course. His 2012 didn’t get off to the greatest of starts as he was unable to participate in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions due to recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery. He also withdrew from the Humana Challenge during his second round due to back pain. Almost a foretelling of what was to come on down the line, I suppose.
When DJ did return, it was a mix of good finishes and not-so-good ones.
Farmers Insurance Open: T43
Waste Management Phoenix Open: T61
AT&T at Pebble Beach: T5 (that joint owes him another win, doesn’t it?)
Northern Trust Open: T4
WGC-Accenture Match Play: defeated in round of 16
WGC-Cadillac Championship: T35
His appearance at The Blue Monster at Doral would be the last we’d see of Johnson for almost three months. Amid those drug accusations (again, refuted by his management), Johnson missed 11 weeks of the season including The Masters. His absence reportedly was due to an injury he sustained while moving a Jet Ski.
When Johnson came back, he came back.
His first tournament after the missed time was at of all places, Muirfield Village at Jack’s tournament, The Memorial. He finished T19. Next was on to Memphis and the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Almost didn’t grab that win. John Merrick came incredibly close to holing out that shot and forcing a playoff.
After his win in Memphis, DJ missed the cut at the US Open, but turned his year around by finishing in the top 10 in five of his final 10 tournaments including a top 10 at the Open Championship (T9) and each round of The Playoffs. His best was a T3 at The Barclays. His “worst”, a T10 at the TOUR Championship.
Despite missing time during two separate stints, DJ carved himself a nice 2012. A win and nine top 10s in 19 events (17 made cuts). It was of little wonder that Davis Love III would name him as a captain’s pick for the 2012 US Ryder Cup team. He was playing well at the right time.
In his three matches, DJ scored three points. He teamed with Matt Kuchar in both fourball matches which they won 3-Up (over Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer) and 1-Up (over Nicolas Colsaerts and Paul Lawrie). Johnson would go on to defeat Colsaerts in the singles, 3-Up. The only time DJ saw blue for one of his matches was after the opening hole of his first fourball match. After that, either paired with Kuchar or on his own, he never trailed in any match for the remainder of the Ryder Cup.
His 2012 major finishes…
The Masters: DNS
US Open: MC
Open Championship: T9
PGA Championship: T48
And he has taken his game with him as the “postseason” has come to a halt. Check out his results page on PGATOUR.com. Needless to say, DJ sets up well for 2013.
For 2013, I think projecting a pair of wins for DJ is not beyond expectations. In fact, it is possible he rises back into the OWGR top 10. He started 2012 at #8 and is currently ranked 21st. Don’t let this “slide” fool you. Johnson can make up the ground with his undeniable talent.
Now to win that first major…
Other players covered in this series:
This series is taken from PGATOUR.com’s listing of their top 100 players to watch for this past year.