If we were to isolate one player or storyline to define the 2015 season, it’s hard to overlook or argue against the emergence of Jordan Spieth as an absolute superstar. A youngster having already captured the first two legs of the Grand Slam, Spieth is hanging around in contention at The Open Championship in hopes of doing something that has become unprecedented.
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Yet beyond the rise of Spieth to superstardom, 2015 may be a year which we look back on and define it as the year of redemption for Dustin Johnson. Coming off of a 2014 season that was marred by controversy and overwhelmingly negative rumors, Johnson has come back in a big way thus far in 2015, making a run at the U.S. Open title and currently finding himself in contention at The Open.
But while the 2015 season, as a collective, may represent a journey toward redemption for Dustin Johnson as a player on tour, this weekend’s festivities at St. Andrews have the potential to lead to a more specific type of redemption for the 31-year-old as he attempts to demonstrate recovery from the events that transpired at Chambers Bay back in June.
The story of the U.S. Open back on June 22nd is well-documented. Dustin Johnson was in position to take home the title over Jordan Spieth. He had a 12-foot eagle putt for the win, though a near miss could lead to an easy birdie opportunity that would at least force Spieth into an 18-hole playoff on the following day. But Johnson seemingly melted down on the 18th green, missing the eagle putt and subsequently failing to sink the birdie putt as well (from just three feet out), leading to Spieth capturing the second leg of the Grand Slam.
The Open Championship gives us a glimpse of how Johnson might recover from such a heart-wrenching loss. With Spieth expected to remain in contention throughout the weekend, Johnson would have an opportunity to prove that he could overcome the psychological hurdle that presents itself after a loss like that. And through the first couple of days, Johnson appears well on his way to doing just that.
At the time of publishing, Johnson still has to finish his second round, as play was suspended due to darkness with him through 13. As he prepares to wrap up his second round and proceed into the weekend, Dustin Johnson finds himself in prime position to demonstrate a recovery from the loss at Chambers Bay. Play has resumed and now at 9-under on the 15th hole, he finds himself looking at the top of the leaderboard, with Spieth lurking in the weeds four strokes back.
In a day and age that searches, finds, and clings to every possible narrative, Dustin Johnson has the chance to establish one for himself this weekend at St. Andrews. With a finish that so many have labeled a choke at Chambers Bay, Johnson is going to have an opportunity to not only take the title at The Open Championship in Fife this weekend, but will be able to knock off Jordan Spieth in the process. Doing so would help to prove that he’s eliminated the meltdown at Chambers Bay in his mind and help us to develop a new narrative.
In other words, this weekend is going to tell us a lot about Dustin Johnson.
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Pro Golf Now. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.